Funding the benefits of 16 individuals who opted out of the NMI Retirement Fund settlement class now rests with the Senate, after the House of Representatives passed the funding proposal Friday afternoon.
The Senate would have acted on House Bill 18-130, authored by Rep. Mario Taitano (Ind-Saipan), immediately after House passage.
However, the Senate’s emergency session was intended for only one subject—a resolution that would pave the way for the disbursement of over $40 million in remaining defined benefit plan employee contributions—so it could not entertain the funding bill for opt-outs.
The Senate is expected to pass HB 18-130 during its session tomorrow at 1:30pm.
The bill seeks to reserve any lapsed funds from a certain account—business unit NMI DC Employer Contribution—to pay for retired Fund members who have decided to opt out of the class action settlement deal.
If DC members withdraw their funds, the government will not have to pay the 4 percent employer contribution, creating a lapse of funds from that particular account. This can be used to help fund the retirement benefits of retiree opt-outs.
The settlement class has over 4,000 members and only 16 opted out. The opt-outs did not get their pension on Oct. 15 while the retirees who remained members of the settlement class started getting a 25-percent cut on theirs that same day.
Among the opt-outs are two lawmakers—Rep. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), who voted “present” on HB 18-130 on Friday, and Senate floor leader Ray Yumul (Ind-Saipan).