By MARY SELL AND MADDISON BOOTH, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama teachers in the state’s Tier II retirement plan could retire after 30 years of service under a bill that passed the Alabama House on Thursday.
House Bill 134 is sponsored by Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, who for several years has tried to undo the current requirement that Tier II teachers can’t collect retirement benefits until age 62.
“There are very unique demands (in teaching) … it’s very grueling,” Baker said.
The bill increases the member contribution rate for Tier II plan members from 6.2% currently to 6.5% per payroll period; and increases the member contribution rate for Tier II correctional officers, firefighters, or law enforcement officers from 7.2% currently to 7.5% per payroll period. The Retirement Systems of Alabama estimates HB134 would increase the unfunded liability of TRS by an estimated $49.7 million.
It passed the House 102-0. The bill now goes to the Senate where the effort was struck last year.
Supporters noted that the state needs to make the teacher profession more attractive to young educators.
“We’re having trouble recruiting teachers and retaining teachers … what you’re doing will help both those issues,” Rep. David Wheeler, R-Vestavia Hills, told Baker on Thursday.