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Governor Murphy’s office has advised us that he will today sign legislation proposed by the State PBA to reinstate the 20 and Out retirement benefit for PFRS members. The State PBA has been actively pushing the Legislature to restore 20 and Out after it was gutted by the Christie Administration. The State PBA, who drafted the bill and selected the sponsors, appreciate the support of the Governor to return fairness to our members retirement options.

We are also grateful to the bills prime sponsors - Senator Gopal, Senator Lagana, Assemblyman DeAngelo, Assemblyman Dancer and Assemblywoman Chaparro - as well as Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin who prioritized moving the bill at our request.

The legislation will reestablish 20 and Out as a retirement option for PFRS members for the next 2 years. Members who qualify during that time period will receive a pension of 50% of their final salary but with no health benefits. The 2 year window will allow the State PBA, PFRS Board and legislative leaders to study the impact of the retirement benefit on the funded level of the pension system.

At a time when law enforcement has become more hazardous, more stressful and more unappreciated as ever before, this retirement option will give a level of peace of mind to our members who have been “burned out” by the job. The State PBA will continue to prioritize protecting and strengthening the pension and benefit rights available to the law enforcement community in New Jersey and today’s bill signing is just another example of that.

The State PBA initiated bill to reestablish the 20 and Out benefit was passed in the General Assembly today.  The bill now heads to the Governor for his consideration.  We have been in contact with Governor Murphy’s office to express the need for his support for the legislation.

The bill will restore the 20 and Out PFRS benefit for 2 years after its enactment in order to assess the financial impact of the benefit on the pension system.  While we believe that this retirement option will remain infrequently, as it has been for the last 20 years, we also must ensure that anything we pursue does not negatively impact the health of the PFRS.  The long term health and growth of PFRS is of obvious critical importance.  But restoring 20 and Out now ensures fairness to provide PFRS members benefits they were promised when they become officers two decades ago.  We firmly believe that the next 2 years will prove our fiscal analysis correct that 20 and Out will have little impact on PFRS, thereby disproving the inaccurate cost estimate proposed by the League of Municipalities and Association of Counties, thus opening the door to make 20 and Out permanent.

It is important to remind PBA members that existing State Law prohibits providing employer paid health benefits to a retiree unless a member has 25 years of service.  Therefore there are no health benefits provided to officers who retire at 20 years.  But the member would receive 50% of their final salary regardless of age as a pension for the rest of their life. 

Passage of the bill was a major priority for the State PBA and we would like to thank Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin for moving the bill and our sponsors, Senator Gopal, Assemblyman DeAngelo and Assemblyman Dancer for their steadfast support.

Governor Murphy today signed into law a PBA initiated bill to expand the class 3 officer Program.

Under the new law every law enforcement officer eligible for retirement in the PFRS and every retired bi-state and federal officer would be eligible to be appointed as a class 3 officer. The law will go into effect 7 months from today so that the Police Training Commission has the time to develop the appropriate training program for these officers.

The new law also removes the current restrictions on how long an officer can be retired to be eligible. There are now no limits on how long an officer can be retired to be offered a class 3 job. And the law also now limits the off duty work available to class 3 officers by ensuring that all extra duty school assignments be offered first to the full time members of the police department before a class 3 officer can be offered the post. 

We would like to thank the NJ Association of Chiefs of Police for their cooperation and guidance in developing the law. We are grateful to Senator Bucco and Assemblyman Bucco for their sponsorship of the bill and appreciate the governor signing this PBA priority legislation quickly into law.