Arizona LEO Voice
The FOP’s influence “has left other police organizations feeling out in the cold.”
— The Wall Street Journal
The rights and benefits of law enforcement officers are constantly under attack. Nowhere is this more evident than in Arizona.
Activist organizations, with little regard for the realities law enforcement officers face daily seem intent upon a political agenda, which would take law enforcement back to the 1950s in terms of officers rights, pay and benefits.
The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police has a full time staff, utilizing the services of well respected professional government relations team, dedicated to informing legislators about the unique issues facing law enforcement officers in Arizona.
The Arizona FOP has successfully advocated law enforcement officers interests at the state capitol for more than six decades. Our unparalleled success is due to the fact that we approach lawmakers professionally, explain our issues face-to-face and support lawmakers who support law enforcement.
- Due process rights (commonly called law enforcement bill of rights)
- Retirement for law enforcement and corrections officers
- Benefits for spouses and children of fallen officers
- State employee compensation
- Redaction of personal information
- Workman’s’ comp issues
- Work Fitness
- Overtime Compensation
Let’s Take a Look at the Record
A History of Arizona Fraternal Order of Police Legislative Activity
On January 25, 1934, Tucson Police Officer Frank Eyman was one of several officers who captured John Dillinger in downtown Tucson. Eyman, who later became Sheriff of Pima County and Warden of the Arizona State Prison in Florence (1955 to 1972), transported Dillinger to Chicago. While there, he had the opportunity to visit a Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, and returned to Tucson with paperwork to establish the first FOP Lodge; Tucson Lodge 1, whose members are Tucson PD officers. Later the same year, the Arizona State FOP Lodge and Phoenix FOP Lodge 2 were chartered.
Maricopa County Deputy Roberts was shot and killed after responding to a report of a murder at a factory. Germany initiates hostilities leading to World War II. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, essentially rendering marijuana and all its by-products illegal.
- The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police obtained a 20 year law enforcement officer retirement plan for cities with a population of 20,000 or more, Phoenix and Tucson. Officers were entitled to be retired with a monthly pension equal to one-half of their average monthly compensation for the year immediately prior to the date of retirement.
Pinal County Deputy Hickox was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend one of five convicts who had escaped from the state prison. Federal minimum wage law guarantees private sector workers 25 cents per hour and a maximum 44 hour working week – police officers were not included.
- The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police met with law Professors at U of A to discuss proposed measures to provide statewide civil service for police officers.
1940 to 1949
Apache County Sheriff Nunn was killed when a gasoline tanker exploded. Pinal County Watchman Blackwell succumbed to stab wounds received while attempting to arrest a man who had threatened a woman with a knife. Wickenburg Night Watchman Clarence Dotson was killed when he interrupted a burglary in progress. Gila County Deputy Mitchell Smith was killed when his police motorcycle was intentionally rammed by a vehicle. Williams PD Marshal Joe McDaniel was shot and killed by a man he was attempting to arrest. Yuma County Deputy Sylvester Villa was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a burglary suspect. Yuma County Deputy Walter Akers was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a drunk man at the Parker train depot. Pima County Deputy John Anderson was killed when he fell several hundred feet down Sabino Canyon after rescuing a lost hiker. Pinal County Deputy Edward Smith was shot and killed by a man who had escaped from the Pinal County Jail the day before. The population of Arizona grew rapidly after 1945, exploding by almost ten times from 700,000 in 1950 to over 5 million in 2000.
- FOP achieved 5 ½ day 44 hour work week for law enforcement officers. Previously the law allowed a 6 day 48 hour work week.
- Increased vacation from 1 week to 12 days per year after 5 years of service, then 15 days up to 15 years, and 21 days annually after that. (Tucson Lodge #1 / Phoenix Lodge #2)
- Paid sick leave achieved at 1.125 days per month.
During the 1950s, the political scene changed. Arizona Republicans captured the governorship, gained votes in the legislature, won congressional seats, and brought a two-party system to the state.
- The FOP filed a lawsuit naming the City of Phoenix for not putting any money into retirement fund established in 1937. FOP lost lawsuit with Phoenix in 1951. Business Associations convinced the legislature in 1952 to change the law enforcement officers’ retirement benefit to 25 years and age 55.
1951 - 1956
Maricopa County Deputy Burtice Wickstrum was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a sighting of a wanted murderer. Night Marshal Albert Rinks was shot and killed when he was ambushed by a man he had arrested earlier. Pinal County Deputy Escamilla was shot and killed after he attempted to stop a bartender from beating a man. The Republican platform boasted that “the Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen’s compensation benefits, increased retirement benefits, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.”
- FOP achieved 40 hour work week.
- FOP achieved cost of living pay overcoming outrage caused by firefighters trying to get the same pay raise.
- FOP achieved hospitalization coverage paid for by employer.
1957 – 1962
Maricopa County Deputy Gerald Barnes was killed when the Sheriff’s Department Plane crashed into the Arizona Canal. DPS Officer Louis Cochran was killed when his cruiser was rear-ended by a drunk driver. JFK warns Russia US will not allow Soviet missiles to remain in Cuba. John Glenn, Jr., became the first American to orbit the earth.
- FOP defeated an attempt to wipe out existing 25 year retirement plan.
1963 - 1964
Mohave County Sheriff Robert Tarr was shot and killed at an agricultural inspection station near Kingman, Arizona, by a car thief. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Johnson broad powers in dealing with reported North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. forces. It allowed the president to use unlimited military force to prevent attacks on U.S. forces.
- Fraternal Order of Police obtained legislative approval to place an FOP memorial in Wesley Bolin Plaza and celebrated first Peace Officers Memorial on May 15, 1964.
1965 - 1969
Astronaut Neil Armstrong took his legendary “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” He and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made the first successful landing of a manned vehicle on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility when they touched down in Apollo 11. Armstrong stepped down from the ladder of the landing module Eagle to become the first man ever to walk on the moon.
- HB108 Merit System passed and signed by Governor Jack Williams.
In Washington, DC, a bomb exploded in a Senate restroom. It caused extensive damage but no injuries. It occurred at a time of rising opposition to US policies in Vietnam.
- FOP and Fire joined together to get the 20 year retirement passed.
Dow Jones Index drops 508.32 points (22%) (record). 43 die in Pacific Southwest Airline crash in California (former airline employee shot pilots).
- Dedicated NEW Arizona Police Memorial in Wesley Bolin Plaza. Significant money raised by the FOP to create the memorial.
1988 – 1990
A new drug Crack appears. Suspected Libyan terrorist bomb explodes on Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in Scotland killing all 259 on board and 11 on the ground. Massive protests on either side of the Berlin Wall bring about the collapse of the East German Government. The Berlin Wall is breached and eventually dismantled. After 30 years, the Cold War between East and West ends. The US enters a major recession. Saddam Hussein orders Iraq invasion of neighboring Kuwait.
- State Lodge PAC Committee registered with the Arizona Secretary of State.
- Excess Earnings bill passed. Allowed retirees a regular pay raise.
1991 – 2003
Operation Desert Storm – after 1 month of bombing, land invasion forces Iraq out of Kuwait. The Dot Com bubble occurred in the mid and late 1990s. PSPRS lost $1 B due to poor investment strategy. On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.
- FOP introduced bill which was passed to include one Police Officer and one Deputy Sheriff as an appointed member of the ALEOAC – Arizona Law Enforcement Officers Advisory Council – later renamed to AZPOST Arizona Peace Officer Standards & Training.
- FOP backed Legislation to revise State Constitution to prohibit use of Public Safety Retirement System funds for the use by the Legislature or any other entity for any use other then what they were intended for.
- Revised the state death benefit for the survivors of fallen officers.
- FOP legislation to pay tuition to any Arizona University for family of officers killed in the line of duty.
After increases in fuel prices, the major oil companies make the highest profits in history: Exxon Mobile — $242,365 Billion, Royal Dutch Shell — $235,598 Billion, British Petroleum — $232,571 Billion. Ex-soldier John Muhammad is found guilty of one of a series of sniper shootings that terrorized Washington, D.C.. The strongest earthquake in 40 years originates from the Indian Ocean close to Indonesia, measuring 9.3 on the Richter Scale. Creating tsunami waves that sweep across much of the coastlines of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. At least 290,000 people are confirmed to have died.
- HB2383 public information; confidentiality — Signed into law 05/03/04
Prohibits the disclosure of a peace officer’s photograph from his or her personnel file. Legislation enacted in 2004 was significant in setting the basic rules for when a police agency could release a photograph of a law enforcement officer. The final bill achieved a compromise between the Arizona Newspaper Association and the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police and achieved a balance in protecting the officer and protecting the public’s need for information. Both the FOP and the Arizona Newspaper Association endorsed the final version of the Legislation.
- SB1247 police officer discipline; evidence; discovery — Signed into law 4/19/04
Specifies a time frame for the exchange of documents and witness lists relevant to any appeals hearing resulting from disciplinary action taken against a law enforcement officer, allows the employer or law enforcement officer to seek a determination regarding any evidence that should not be disclosed because the risk of harm involved in the disclosure outweighs any usefulness of the disclosure and provides that the request by an employer or officer to change hearing officer or administrative law judge shall be granted on the first request for specific cases.
- HB2080: CORP; prior service redemption — Signed into law 4/5/04
Allows members of the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan (CORP) to purchase out-of-state prior service time for correctional officer or certified peace officer service and outlines the redemption calculation methodology.
- HB2081 PSPRS; disability offset — Signed into law 4/12/04
Allows a Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) member receiving an accidental disability pension to continue receiving full disability pension benefits if that member returns to work.
- HB2109 contribution rate; CORP — Signed into law 5/14/04
Raises the minimum employer contribution rate for CORP from 2% to 4% of salary beginning in fiscal year 2005-06.
Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic hurricane of the 2005 hurricane season. It was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States.
- SB1042 officer organizations; DPS — Signed into law 4/12/05
Allows employees of the Department of Public Safety to form and join employee organizations, establishes meet and confer processes between the Department and employees, and prescribes rules for mediation.
- SB1367: PSPRS; deferred retirement; election — Signed into law 4/19/05
Includes active military service as eligible service for the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) within the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), retroactive to July 1, 2002.
- SB1426: overtime pay; CORP — Signed into law 5/13/05
This bill conforms for the CORP Program what is already done for all other Arizona retirement systems with respect to overtime pay; it would include overtime pay for calculation purposes in establishing a correction officer’s retirement benefit.
- HB2254: MVD records; peace officer photographs — Signed into law 4/19/05
Makes a conforming change in the MVD statutes to legislation passed in the 2004 legislative session. Last year’s legislation set standards for the release of peace officer photos from police agencies.
- SB1418 law enforcement officers; due process — Signed into law 4/13/05
Holds harmless an officer requesting representation or acting as a representative during an interview that could result in dismissal or suspension and modifies the time period in which information for an appeal hearing shall be exchanged between an employer and officer. Asserts that an employer shall not discipline, retaliate against, or threaten to retaliate against an officer for requesting a representative be present or for acting as a representative during an interview that could result in dismissal, demotion, or suspension of an officer.
Saddam Hussein is charged on May 15th and following the trial is found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. The Serial Shooter killers ( Dale S. Hausner and Samuel John Dieteman ) are caught and charged for the drive by murders of six people in Phoenix, Arizona.
- SB 1139 DPS; officer organizations — Signed into law 4/17/06
Revised the “DPS meet and Confer” law passed in 2004. Allows the Department of Public Safety to recognize an employee organization by a majority vote in an election where the majority of eligible employees vote. When the election was held, the number of DPS employees who voted fell short majority required to implement meet and confer in DPS.
- HB2482; CORP; return to work and CORP; Reverse DROP program — Signed into law 5/2/06
- SB1258 Law Enforcement agencies; retirement credentials — Signed into law 3/31/2006
Requires law enforcement agencies to issue certificates or identification to officers who retire honorably.
- Return to Work:
Allows a retired CORP member, who retired before January 1, 2006, to become employed by a CORP employer in a designated position and still receive their pension, if employment occurs at least 90 days after retirement and the employment involves substantial direct inmate contact.
- Reverse DROP:
Establishes a voluntary Reverse DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) as an alternative benefit accrual method in CORP beginning July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2011.
- Pay Raise for Corrections employees:
The FOP Strongly advocated a pay raise for Corrections Officers in the budget. In June 2006, the legislature passed a budget which included the largest pay raise given to state corrections employees. The Director of Corrections cited the strong and “effective” FOP legislative efforts as one of the reasons the pay raise was approved by the legislature. FOP members sent more than 30,000 individual emails to legislators using our web based email program.
- HB 2142 CORP; membership; ordinary disability Added to a CORP Omnibus bill and signed into law.
Adds the benefit of ordinary disability to CORP members. The cost of this benefit was of the benefit was be conditional upon the CORP fund being well funded (later enacted in 2009 after an additional employee contribution was imposed).
The “Great Recession” starts. News helicopters from Phoenix, Arizona television stations KNXV and KTVK collide over Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix while covering a police chase; there were no survivors. The bridge over the Mississippi river on I35W collapses with cars dropping into the river. Due to quick responses by emergency services only 13 people lost their lives in the tragedy.
- SB1006; Public records; confidentiality — Signed into law on 4/27/07
Over the past decade, the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police has sought and received changes to statutes governing the public’s access to records containing law enforcement personal information. In 2007, the Fraternal Order of Police sought a further change in to expand the list of persons who may request that their personal identifying information, including home address and telephone numbers, be redacted from county recorder, county assessor and county treasurer records. Under SB1006, law enforcement support staff, adult or juvenile corrections officers, corrections support staff, probation officers, parole board members, National Guard members acting in support of a law enforcement agency, and firefighters assigned to the Arizona Counterterrorism Center in the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety, may request that their personal information be redacted.
Jan 21, Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 9/11, and Asian stocks drop as much as 15%. The US Government takes control of the two largest mortgage financing companies in the US, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history. The $700 billion bailout bill for the US financial system is signed by President Bush.
- HB2058; PSPRS; local boards; procedures – Signed into law 4/17/08
The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) administers the statewide retirement program for public safety personnel employed by approximately 210 state, county, municipal, and special districts in Arizona. Each employer has its own local board. Requires local boards to commence a hearing within 90 days and places no time limit on when the board must render its decision. Grants automatic adjudication in favor of the officer, if the local board fails to adjudicate within ninety days. Requires the employers to pay the legal fees for any independent counsel retained by the local board.
- SB 1339 law enforcement; probation; officers; investigations — Signed into law 5/7/2008
A.R.S. § 38-1101 provides procedures for the exchange and dissemination of information in any appeal of a disciplinary action by a law enforcement officer or probation officer and also defines disciplinary action as the dismissal or demotion or the suspension. Limits the ability of an agency to require an officer to take a polygraph test. Allows for the change of a hearing officer or administrative law judge upon a first request and upon all other requests, on a showing that a fair and impartial hearing cannot be obtained due to the prejudice of the assigned hearing officer. Mandates that the employer has the burden of proof in an appeal of a disciplinary action by a law enforcement officer or probation officer. Allows an officer to appeal for a suspension for more than 24 hours (previously 40 hours).
Ongoing financial crisis and recession which began in late 2007 continues with many calling it the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It causes house prices to decline and unemployment to increase. In 2009, governments in the US and around the world pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system and into the economies hoping to avert another Great Depression. Although unemployment had continued to increase by the end of 2009, markets had recovered and most thought the worst was over. US Airways Flight 1549 was struck by a flock of Canadian geese shortly after takeoff and made a successful crash landing in the Hudson River piloted by Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger.
- SB 1062; law enforcement officers; discipline procedures
Established additional rights of law enforcement and probation officers regarding interviews the employer reasonably believes could result in dismissal, demotion or suspension.
- Specifies that at the conclusion of an interview in which an employer reasonably believes could result in dismissal, demotion or suspension of the law enforcement officer or probation officer, the officer is entitled to the following:
- A period of time to consult with the officer’s representative.
- A statement not to exceed five minutes, addressing specific facts or policies that are related to the interview.
- Allows an employer or person acting on behalf of an employer, except where a statute or ordinance makes the administrative evidentiary hearing the final administrative determination, to amend, modify, reject or reverse a decision made by a hearing officer, administrative law judge or appeals board after a hearing if the following occur:
- The officer and employer were equally allowed to call and examine witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, provide documentary evidence and otherwise fully participate in the hearing.
- The decision was arbitrary or without reasonable justification.
- The employer or person acting on behalf of the employer states the reason for the amendment, modification, rejection or reversal.
- Prohibits an employer from including any information about an investigation in the portion of the personnel file of an officer that is available for public inspection and copying until one of the following occurs:
- The investigation is complete.
- The employer has discontinued the investigation.
- Specifies that if the officer has timely appealed a disciplinary action, the investigation is not complete until the conclusion of the appeal process.
Chandler Police Officer Carlos Ledesma was shot and killed while conducting an undercover ‘reverse’ bust operation in Phoenix. Phoenix Officer Travis Murphy was shot and killed when he confronted a suspect who had fled the scene of a shots fired call earlier in the night. Gilbert Lieutenant Eric Shuhandler was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle occupied by two males. ASU Police Officer James Lister suffered a fatal heart attack one day following his response to a fight on the Tempe Campus. BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico leaves gulf beaches / fishing and the shellfish industry reeling. New Deep Water Drilling Wells are stopped until regulators can catch up with the technology.
- SB-1325 polygraph examinations; interviews; law enforcement
As background, ARS 38-1101 is the law that provides due process rights for law enforcement officers during administrative investigations. The FOP has been making improvements to this law for many years. In 2010, SB1325, sponsored by Senator Linda Gray, made several important changes to our law enforcement due process rights.
- States that statutory guidelines apply to employer interviews of law enforcement officers or probation officers if the law enforcement officer or probation officer reasonably believes the investigation could result in a dismissal, demotion or suspension. Previously, only the agency could invoke the provisions of ARS 38-1101.
- Specifies that if a representative from the same agency of the law enforcement officer is not reasonably available to be present during the interview, with the employer’s permission, the representative may be from the law enforcement officer’s professional membership organization.
- Specifies that the written notice informing the law enforcement officer or probation officer of the specific nature of the investigation contain the following:
- Alleged facts that are the basis of the investigation.
- Copies of all complaints that are reasonably available which contain the alleged facts, except for copies of complaints that involve matters pursuant to federal laws under the jurisdiction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Specifies that all data and reports from a polygraph examination of a law enforcement officer or probation officer are confidential and may only be used for the purposes of employment, certification or reactivation of certification or the administrative matter for which a polygraph was administered, including other ancillary matters. Requires the data and reports from a polygraph examination of a law enforcement officer or probation officer be destroyed, as soon as practicable, three years after the date of appointment or employment but not more than 90 days after that date, except for a pre-employment polygraph in which an applicant was not hired or in the case of an active investigation or an appeal.
- Allows an officer to appeal a suspension for more than 16 hours (reduced from 24 hours).
- SB1124; CORP; reverse DROP; extension.
In 2006, the FOP requested that a DROP program be implemented for Corrections and Detention Officers. The legislature approved a reverse DROP program, however, the law also included a sunset date of June 30, 2011. This year, we asked the Legislature and the Governor to extend the CORP reverse DROP program to June 30, 2016. Senator Al Melvin, who is a strong supporter of Corrections employees, sponsored the bill.
The Department of Corrections approached us later in the session and requested permission to add an amendment to our bill which would, for one year, allow the CORP local board to designate positions that would be eligible for participation in the Corrections Officer Retirement Program. As session law, this provision will permit the Department of Corrections and Juvenile Department of Corrections to fill non-designated positions with CORP employees if the employee is currently employed in a specified designated position and has at least five years of credited service under the plan.
- FOP Amendment to HB2067 PSPRS; omnibus;
During the session, we received information from members of Lodge 77 in San Luis and Lodge 28 in Sierra Vista describing an unfair situation created by specific language in the statutes governing buying back prior service for time spent working at another agency in Arizona, if that agency did not participate in PSPRS. Basically, a few members were unable to redeem the time they spent working for an agency in Arizona while other officers were able to buy back prior service for time spent working for out-of-state agencies. The bill expanded the redemption of prior service to include services to ALL political subdivisions of Arizona.
Glendale Police Officer Brad Jones was shot and killed while assisting a probation officer during a meeting with a parolee at an apartment complex near the intersection of North 75th and West Glendale Avenues. Buckeye Police Officer Rolando Tirado was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle in a parking lot on South 35th Ave. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with twelve others while making a public appearance in Tucson. The accused gunman Jared Loughner killed six of the people who were shot, one of dead was a nine year old girl. Giffords survived the attack but was in critical condition. On March 11th, an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 hits off the coast of Japan, causing a tsunami that hit the Iwate prefecture with waves over 130 feet high. Damage from the tsunami and earthquake triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant due to several meltdowns and the inability to cool the reactors. Estimated figures related to the earthquake include nearly 16,000 deaths, over 6,000 injuries, and almost 3,000 people missing.
- 2011 S.B. 1235 law enforcement officers; disciplinary procedures — Signed 4/25/2011
- SB 235, which was drafted by the FOP and sponsored by Senator Linda Gray, passed both the Senate and the House unanimously. Our bill makes several important changes and additions to the law, including:
- Requires the employer, at the request of an officer who is subject to a disciplinary interview to provide a basic summary of any discipline ordered against any other officer of similar rank and knowledge working for the employer within the preceding two years for the same or comparable infraction.
- Prohibits the employer from taking concluding action or arranging a hearing until the essential outline or file copies are provided to the officer.
- Adds the requirement for cases before the office of administrative hearing by means of an interagency agreement with another city, town or county, upon the first request of a party.
- Allows an officer to appeal a suspension for more than eight hours, instead of sixteen hours.
- Prohibits a critical incident stress management team member who acquires information in confidence from an involved officer from being compelled to disclose the information in a legal proceeding, trial or investigation before any state agency or political subdivision.
The FOP Legislative Committee; the Arizona FOP Executive Board; our FOP lobbyists, along with our PR firm, played an important role in mitigating or eliminating the most harmful of the punitive retirement reform proposals produced by the legislature. See 2017 for results of litigation over the 2011 retirement reform.
- Starting well before the Arizona Republic printed a slanted series of stories, the FOP PR firm was fully engaged, ensuring the FOP had the opportunity to respond to media reports attacking law enforcement retirement benefits. Quickly, it became apparent that the FOP and the firefighters were among the few defenders of our retirement benefits.
- After the legislature drafted extraordinarily punitive legislation, the Governor’s Office contacted the FOP. We were given the opportunity to offer a proposal to modify some of the more harmful SB 1609 provisions. The offer was heavily conditioned, which prevented a total remake of the bill.
- We told the governor’s office that the conditions placed on our proposal made the amended bill, in our opinion, just as unconstitutional as the original SB1609.
- All of the public safety organizations who were invited to work on proposals, FOP, Fire, APA and PLEA (AZCOPS was not invited) jointly agreed upon amendments that were accepted by the governor’s office. The governor’s office asked us to change our position on SB 1609 to “neutral” because our proposal was accepted, however, we politely refused, advising that we felt some of the changes, although better than the original language, remained unconstitutional.
- We complied with the governor’s condition that we cease “active” opposition to SB 1609 in order to preserve DROP, allow military service purchases, extend the number of years to phase in the contribution rate increase, eliminate an unnecessary contribution rate increase for CORP participants and retain 2 years worth of retiree benefit increases for PSPRS participants.
- The heavily amended SB 1609 passed the House and the Senate; however, it did not have the necessary number of votes to enact the “emergency clause.” As a result, many members had more time to plan service purchases.
Deputy Sheriff William Coleman, age 50, was shot and killed while responding to a burglary call in Anthem at approximately 4:15 am January 8, 2012. Deputy Sheriff David Wargo succumbed to severe head injuries sustained nine years earlier when he was dragged by a vehicle in a supermarket parking lot at the intersection of 83rd Avenue and Camelback Road. The US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is stormed, looted and burned down, killing five people, including the US ambassador. Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey resulting in 110 deaths and $50 billion in damage and forces the New York stock exchange to close. Barack Obama wins Florida to defeat Mitt Romney for President.
- SB1186; Law Enforcement Omnibus, which was drafted by the FOP and sponsored by Senator Linda Gray, passed both the Senate and the House unanimously. Our bill makes several important changes and additions to the law, including;
- Allows a petition for an order authorizing disease testing of another person to be submitted to a court if the person is arrested, charged, or in custody and the public safety employee or volunteer alleges, by affidavit, that the person interfered with the official duties of the public safety employee or volunteer by biting, scratching, spitting, or transferring blood or other bodily fluids on or through the skin or membranes of the employee or volunteer.
- Officers, who are also fire origin and cause investigators, are exempt from the prohibition against the licensing of peace officers and reserve peace officers as private investigators.
- New statute sets the standards for fitness for duty examinations, including that an employer may order a law enforcement officer to submit to a physical examination only if the officer has acted or failed to act in an observable manner that indicates there is a physical condition materially limiting the officer’s ability to perform essential job functions. Sets time limits and officer’s rights for the process.
- Modifies the definition of peace officers to include special agents from the attorney general’s office or a county attorney’s office who are certified by the AZPOST.
- Specifies that certain cities, towns, and counties must only enter into an interagency agreement to provide for an alternate hearing officer for disciplinary action appeals if necessary to comply with the requirement to provide an alternate hearing officer on a party’s first request.
- Clarifies the “just cause” statute that an officer may bring action in a superior court for a hearing de novo (as if it were a new hearing independent of the previous results of the appeal process) regarding their termination.
- The session was dominated by two issues; anti-union bills, all of which failed to pass, and state government personnel reform, implementing at-will employment for state workers, which passed heavily amended. Our team of professional lobbyists, Don Isaacson and Norm Moore, along with FOP President, John Ortolano, and ALC Executive Director, Jim Mann, worked long hours every day during the session, representing the interests of our members. Our team worked closely with legislators, legislative staff, bill sponsors, other stakeholder groups and the Governor’s office to ensure that we had the support necessary to deflect the anti-union bills and achieve major amendments to the state personnel reform bill.
- H.B. 2389 peace officers; omnibus, which was drafted by the FOP and sponsored by Representative Justin Pierce, passed both the Senate and the House unanimously. When approved, our bill made several important changes and additions to the law, including;
- Confidential Information
- Permits the following people to request that certain records containing personal information be restricted from public access:
- the spouse or minor child of a deceased peace officer; and
- a former public official who ceased serving in that capacity within the previous four years and was the victim of a violent crime.
- Adds a spouse or minor child’s home address or telephone number as confidential information in the officer’s personnel file and applies related penalties to a person who knowingly releases such information.
- Lease Terminations
- Requires the officer, before vacating the dwelling, to repay any lease concession or benefit the officer actually received.
- Health Insurance Benefits for spouse and minor children of fallen officers
- Corrects a bill previously signed into law which provides that the agency must fund health insurance benefits for the spouse and minor children of officers killed in the line of duty. Provides a 50 year retroactive provision. The original bill was prospective only.
- Requires the state agency head or designee to accept LEMSC’s recommendation regarding an appeal of disciplinary action unless it is arbitrary or without reasonable justification – corrects a provision in last year’s personnel reform bill – applies to all State law enforcement officers under LEMSC, instead of just DPS.
- Requires the state agency head or designee, if that person does not accept the recommendation, to state the reasons for rejecting it.
Phoenix PD Detective John Thomas Hobbs Phoenix voters in November rejected a ballot measure that would have closed the city of Phoenix’s pension system and replaced it with a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new employees. The outcome was a major victory for city labor unions, who argued Proposition 487 would hurt public workers and cost taxpayers more over the next 20 years. Residents put the initiative on the ballot. City leaders on both sides of Prop. 487 said Phoenix still has work to do to address soaring pension costs that add to its budget shortfalls, setting the table for a debate over alternative reforms in the coming months.
Arizona was unprepared for record-breaking rainfall this monsoon season. The National Weather Service in Phoenix said Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport gauged about 3.3 inches of rain on Sept. 8. The previous rainfall record for a single day was 2.91 inches on Sept. 4, 1939.
Once again, as a result of the great work by all of our members and lobbyists, the AZ FOP has achieved 100% of our AZ FOP legislative agenda during the 2014 session. All of our AZ FOP legislative agenda items were member suggested or were continuing priority items. Our professional lobbyists, Don Isaacson and Norm Moore did outstanding work making this legislative session a great success for the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police.
The session ended after 101 days and we were present at the legislature every day advocating the interests of FOP membership. We reviewed 1205 bills and closely tracked more than 100 bills during the session.
2014 Legislation Continued
Our FOP bill, SB1284, PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS; OMNIBUS unanimously passed all assigned committees, the Senate, the House and was signed by the governor on 4/23/2014. The bill contains the following provisions:
- Extends the repeal date for the supplemental benefits plan for public safety officers who are injured while on duty to October 1, 2017. Allows officers seriously injured in the line of duty to continue to receive the 100% base pay supplemental benefit which was set to expire in October 2014.
- Allows the Department of Administration (ADOA) to establish an alternative appeal hearing process pursuant to supplemental benefits appeal procedures or alternative procedures established by ADOA.
- Allows a peace officer to request that public access be restricted to court records maintained by the clerk of the superior court which contain the officer’s personal identifying information.
- Permits ADC, or a county, city or town to voluntarily participate in the PSPRS supplemental cancer insurance program for employees who are corrections or detention officers.
- Allows a PSPRS member who has at least five years of service with the system to redeem up to 60 months of out of state prior service as a full-time paid corrections officer engaged in law enforcement duties.
- Allows a person who has been under ASRS for at least five years and who accepts a position as a detention officer to stay under ASRS at the discretion of the county, city or town.
We moved one of our legislative agenda items to a Banner Hospital bill, SB1276: HIV-RELATED TESTING; CONSENT; CONFIDENTIALITY; EXCEPTIONS, which allows HIV testing of a subject if a first responder reports an occupational significant exposure. The bill has passed the legislature and has been sent to the governor.
2014 Legislation Continued
As expected, our advocacy for state employee pay budget increases was met with mixed results. We advocated strongly for pay raises for Game Rangers and DPS employees. We also advocated for the Attorney General base budget increase to cover ongoing costs of the raises previously given to the AG investigators. The only pay raise approved for state employees was a 2% increase specifically for DPS employees. While the DPS employee raise was only 2%, its $3.3 million dollar cost was one of the largest discretionary increases in the state budget.
Representative Justin Pierce’s bill to reorganize all of the 38-1100 series of statutes related to officers rights HB2562: PROBATION; PEACE OFFICERS; RIGHTS; INVESTIGATIONS, contains many very positive enhancements requested by the AZ FOP including making ALL suspensions appealable and formally identifies this section of law as our “Peace Officers Bill of Rights.” Our law firm, Yen, Pilch and Landeen along with our lobbyists Don Isaacson and Norm Moore participated in numerous stakeholder meetings and individual meetings with Rep Justin Pierce to reorganize the statutes and improve our rights. Special recognition needs to be given to Rep Pierce for his work on this bill.
One of the most important bills passed this session was HB2050: ASRS MEMBERSHIP; SECTION 218 REQS. The AZ FOP and the leadership of Scottsdale FOP Lodge 35 and Mesa FOP Lodge 9, worked with the legislature and city administration for almost three years to prevent hundreds of Scottsdale and Mesa civilian police department employees from being declared ineligible for participation in the ASRS retirement system. In short, hundreds of our civilian law enforcement brothers and sisters were at risk of being kicked out of ASRS, regardless of how long they had been in the system. The bill has been signed by the governor grandfathering all of those participants into the system and allowing future hires to join the system. While the ASRS still needs to get an approval letter from the IRS, the immediate crisis has been resolved.
Much of our work during the session was devoted to killing bad bills.
Also, pension reform was a big topic of informal discussions during the session. The legislature has been prompted by employers and special interest groups to do “something” to reduce the unsustainable employer costs for retirement benefits. Initially, the legislature proposed an HCR to place a change to the State Constitution on the November ballot which would eliminate the pension protection clause. As a result, several of the employee organizations, including the FOP, have been discussing alternative proposals and asking for the appropriate actuarial information. In response to our good faith effort, the legislature did not move the HCR bill forward, however, the issue is far from dead.
Much of our work during the session was devoted to killing bad bills.
2014 Special Session
The Special Legislative session called by the governor to reform Child Protective Services also included a $350,000 budget item to provide additional resources to the Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children (AZICAC). We strongly supported the budget item which was proposed by “Protect.org”
The 2015 Arizona legislative session ended on Friday April 3, 2015 at 3:37 am. The Senate, tired of waiting on the House to finish, adjourned sine die early, leaving several bills to die for a lack of a Senate vote on House amendments.
We would like to express our appreciation for all of the work by our lobbyists, Don Isaacson and Cheyenne Walsh.
The 2015 session was the shortest in the past 50 years, lasting just 81 days. The AZ FOP was actively working to protect members interests each day of the session. Overall, we reviewed 1,163 bills, closely tracked over 100 bills, advocated for good bills, requested amendments on bills and opposed bad bills.
Our 2015 FOP legislative agenda included, HB2377: LAW ENFORCEMENT MERIT SYSTEM; DETERMINATIONS. The AZ FOP and the AHPA worked cooperatively throughout the session to draft, amend and advocate for the bill. Late in the session, at the urging of the governor’s office, the initial bill was amended after both employee organizations agreed to a DPS management policy directive, which was offered as a solution to achieve our goal of making the LEMSC determination final, while retaining the “just cause” provision in the bill. HB 2377 requires disciplinary actions taken against Department of Public Safety (DPS) or Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) employees or peace officers employed by certain state agencies to be based on just cause. HB2377 has been signed by the governor.
The statute allowing peace officers to purchase their handgun or shotgun upon retirement was in danger of being eliminated because the IRS ruled the provision was not a permissible retirement benefit within the PSPRS statutes. Our 2015 FOP legislative agenda included, HB2272: LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS; FIREARM PURCHASE, which retained the benefit and further expanded it. We were contacted by the Department of Gaming and one of the probation unions asking to include officers who are in ASRS and probation officers, which we did. The new law, which has been signed by the governor, now permits an officer who is a member of an eligible retirement system, upon retirement, and with the employing agency’s approval, to purchase the firearms issued to that officer by an employer at a price determined by the administrator of the agency employing the law enforcement officer. The bill defines eligible retirement system to mean ASRS, EORP, PSPRS and CORP. The bill defines firearms as any handguns, pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, or other weapons that are designed to, will or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of expanding gases. The bill defines officer to mean an AZPOST certified law enforcement officer, a detention or corrections officer, a non-probationary regularly appointed or employed deputy county sheriff or municipal police officer, a surveillance officer, a juvenile detention officer, or a juvenile or adult probation officer.
2015 Legislation Continued
During the session, the House and Senate formed a joint pension reform stakeholders group, chaired by Senator Lesko and Representative Fann, to review proposed pension reform options for the 2016 legislative session. The FOP was asked to participate as a stakeholder representative. It is expected the stakeholder meetings will continue during the off session.
Below is a summary and final action of many of the bills the FOP legislative committee either supported, opposed or tracked during the 2015 legislative session. Some of the bills have been passed by the legislature and are awaiting a decision by the governor.
SB1197: VLT EXEMPTION; FALLEN EMERGENCY PERSONNEL
FOP STRONG SUPPORT
Beginning January 1, 2016, one vehicle owned by a surviving spouse or “dependent” (defined) of a deceased law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency responder who was killed in the line of duty or died from injuries suffered in the line of duty on or after April 5, 1933 is exempt from vehicle license tax and registration fees.
4/2 signed by governor. Chap. no. awaited.
HB2517: INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN; FUND
FOP STRONG SUPPORT
Establishes the Internet Crimes Against Children Enforcement Fund, to be administered by the Attorney General to continue the operation of the federally recognized Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program. The State Lottery Commission is required to transfer the proceeds from any games that are sold from a vending machine in an age-restricted area to the State Treasurer for deposit in the following amounts: $900,000 each FY in the Internet Crimes Against Children Enforcement Fund, $100,000 each FY in the Victims’ Rights Enforcement Fund and any monies in excess of these amounts in the State Lottery Fund. If the amount transferred from the special instant ticket game proceeds to these Funds is less than the specified amounts, the difference must be transferred to the Funds from the percent of unclaimed lottery prize money that is held for use as additional prizes in future games. If a law enforcement agency receives information that a communication service provider is hosting a website containing an alleged violation of crimes of sexual exploitation of children, the agency is required to serve a notice of the alleged violation on the statutory agent of the communication service provider. Emergency clause, becomes effective upon the governor’s signature.4/1 House concurred in Senate amendments and passed on final reading 58-0; ready for governor.
The 2016 Legislative session adjourned sine die at 5:45 am on May 7, 2016, after 117 days. During the session, the legislature introduced a total of 1,247 bills, of which 387 bills passed. Over 200 of those bills passed on the last day of the session. Major pension reform bills passed early in the session. We would like to express our appreciation for all of the work by our lobbyists, Don Isaacson and Cheyenne Walsh. Prior to the 2016 legislative session, the AZ FOP participated in stakeholder working group meetings intended to both cooperatively establish a new public safety retirement tier and push back against retirement reform proposals that are unconstitutional and unfair to current public safety officers.
On February 16, 2016, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law comprehensive pension reform legislation that will put Arizona’s beleaguered public safety pension system on a path to financial solvency. The Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) — which covers all law enforcement personnel and firefighters statewide—has accumulated $6.6 billion in unfunded liabilities over the past dozen years and stands at only 48% funded today.
SB1428: PSPRS MODIFICATIONS
Relating to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. Establishes a method for determining the employer and member contributions to PSPRS for members hired on or after July 1, 2017. Modifies the definition of “normal retirement” and applies these changes only to members hired on or after July 1, 2017. More provisions Conditionally enacted on the state Constitution being amended at the special election on May 17, 2016. Severability clause. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR. See PSPRS Matrix for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 benefits.
Arguably more notable than the reform itself is the process used to achieve stakeholder consensus on the reform package, as it avoided the adversarial dynamic of pension reform policy debates that typically pit employers/taxpayers against employees and labor interests. In the case of PSPRS, the legislation — a package of three bills sponsored by State Sen. Debbie Lesko—was the result of a year-long, collaborative stakeholder process launched by Lesko and Senate President Andy Biggs that garnered extensive support from public safety associations and many other stakeholders in the government and business community.
The legislation had strong bipartisan support, passing the Senate unanimously and the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, with a 49-10 vote. Arizona’s public safety associations—led by the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, the state lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, and the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association — deserve major credit for recognizing the need for reform early on and proactively bringing reform ideas to the table that ultimately led to the launch of the stakeholder collaboration process.
The Need for PSPRS Reform
The deterioration of PSPRS’s financial health over the past 12 years has led to skyrocketing annual pension costs for the local government and state agency employers participating in PSPRS and, by extension, taxpayers. Specifically, the growing costs for many local governments are attributable to rising payments on the large unfunded liabilities for public safety pension benefits. The growth of these pension debt payments has threatened the continued delivery of public services and budgets in those jurisdictions, since the growing costs of pensions effectively crowd out other areas of the budget. Further, the courts have struck down previous legislative reforms to PSPRS enacted in recent years, and other reforms remain under litigation, creating the need for a new solution.
A number of factors have influenced PSPRS’s decline, the two biggest factors being: (1) the system’s current Permanent Benefit Increase (PBI) mechanism, and (2) underperforming investment returns.
The PBI mechanism—which is intended to adjust benefit levels for retirees upward over time to partially offset inflation—has undermined PSPRS’s solvency by skimming assets off the top of the fund in years of good market performance.
The Need for PSPRS Reform
Among the problems associated with the PBI:
- For most retirees, 50% of PSPRS’s investment returns over 9% in a given year are deemed “excess” and diverted to a separate PBI fund to pay out PBI benefits. These diverted funds cannot be used to reduce unfunded liabilities and cannot earn interest over time, constraining PSPRS’s asset growth as a result.
- PBI benefits are not directly linked to inflation and are not distributed equitably among retirees, making it a poor method of adjusting retiree benefit levels to keep up with actual changes in the costs of living. The PBI is calculated as up to 4% of the average pension benefit in PSPRS, then distributed in a level dollar amount, regardless of the retiree’s actual pension benefit level.
- Worse, the PBI benefit has not been pre-funded like a traditional pension cost of living adjustment (COLA). Two years ago, the PSPRS board began requiring employers to make an additional contribution to offset some of the negative effects of skimming investment returns into the PBI fund, but these have been experimental and are not directly related to the actual costs of the PBI benefit.
- Until last year, most retirees in the PSPRS system have received a PBI benefit over 20 consecutive years, despite the continuing decline in PSPRS’s funding status. Now that the PBI account is empty, the plan would have to have several years of very strong returns for retirees to receive a full PBI. Given the current market conditions, it is uncertain when retirees may receive future PBI distributions.
In addition to the PBI problem, PSPRS has seen underperforming investment returns relative to its expected rate of return. The historic trend of actuarially valued returns have been 5% or less since 2002, nearly 15 years straight. However, during that time PSPRS has been using an unrealistic expected rate of return, ranging from 8% down to the recently adopted 7.5%. The net result has been unfunded liabilities added every year for the past dozen years.
Goals of 2016 PSPRS Reform
The PSPRS reform effort sought to establish a retirement system that is affordable, sustainable, and secure. The primary goals of reform included:
The PSPRS reform effort sought to establish a retirement system that is affordable, sustainable, and secure. The primary goals of reform included:
- Providing retirement security for members (current and future) and retirees.
- Reducing taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial and market risk.
- Maintaining a reasonable and stable total normal cost of approximately 20% of payroll.
- Reducing long-term costs for both employers/taxpayers and employees.
- Providing new options to ensure the ability of government employers to recruit and retain 21st century employees.
- Improving PSPRS governance and transparency.
The PSPRS reform includes a wide range of elements, summarized in this section, that affect current workers, retirees and future workers alike. (Links to additional materials with more details on the reform are listed at the end of this article.)
First, for current employees and retirees, the reform will replace the uncertain, inequitable, unsustainable PBI with a traditional, pre-funded cost of living adjustment (COLA) that provides certainty and equity in retirement. This will serve the public interest by fixing the broken PBI mechanism that has been a major factor causing increased unfunded liabilities:
- The new COLA will be based on the changes in the consumer price index for the Phoenix region, with a cap of 2% maximum.
- The COLA will be equitable because the percentage will be applied to each PSPRS retiree’s actual benefit level (as opposed to a level dollar amount granted under the current PBI, regardless of the individual retiree’s benefit level).
- Further, the new COLA will be pre-funded and actuarially accounted for in advance as part of normal cost determination, which has historically not been the case with the current PBI.
Replacing the PBI with a traditional COLA for current personnel and retirees required a constitutional amendment to be voter approved at the ballot box in an election held on May 17, 2016.
Arizona Proposition 124
Election results via: Arizona Secretary of State
Second, the reform creates an entirely new retirement plan design for all new employees hired on or after July 1, 2017 that will:
- For the first time, allow public safety employees the choice of entering a full defined contribution plan or a defined benefit hybrid plan.
- Reduce the pensionable pay cap from $265,000 per year to $110,000 per year, significantly limiting pension spiking.
- Change the pension benefit multiplier from a flat 2.5% to a graded multiplier that ranges from 1.5% to 2.5% depending on years of service.
- Increase the retirement benefit eligibility age from 52.5 years to 55 years old.
- Implement the same CPI, with a cap of 2%.
- Restrict or eliminate cost of living adjustments when the plan falls below 90% funded.
- Require employees to pay 50% of all retirement costs, including normal costs, administrative costs, and any potential future unfunded liabilities if the plan’s experience does not meet actuarial assumptions.
Lastly, the legislation implements significant governance reforms, including:
- Matching the PSPRS board composition to reflect the shared costs and risks. The new board will consist of five independent, outside professionals with at least 10 years experience in fields related to the board’s duties and four members that represent employees, with two of these positions open to independent professionals as well.
- Codifying comprehensive fiduciary standards for pension board members in state law.
- Prohibiting employers from taking pension holidays.
- Requiring that any future benefit increases be paid in full at the time of enactment if they create any unfunded liabilities for the plan.
- Replacing the governor’s office as sole board appointment authority with a process by which stakeholders nominate board candidates, and the appointment of board members is split between the governor, the senate president, and the speaker of the house.
- Prohibiting the removal of a board member without cause.
Expected Effects of Reform
Overall, the reform plan will yield several key benefits to taxpayers, employers and public safety personnel:
- Government agencies will save between 20% and 43% on the normal cost of retirement for each new employee hired, relative to the status quo.
- The reduction in cost for each new hire is estimated to save taxpayers $1.5 billion over the next 30 years, relative to the status quo.
- The reform will reduce the future accrual of total PSPRS pension liabilities by at least 36%.
- The reform will reduce the taxpayer’s exposure to future market risk by more than 50%.
- The reform will reduce the volatility in employer contribution rates by more than 50%.
- All new employees will equally share costs and investment risk with taxpayers under this reform.
- The reform creates incentives for the revamped PSPRS board to set more responsible actuarial assumptions in a way that minimizes the negative effects of underperforming investment returns.
- For the first time, the reform will offer new public safety hires a choice in retirement benefits—either a 100% defined contribution plan or a defined benefit hybrid plan designed to be more sustainable than the current benefit structure.
- New employees will pay lower annual employee contributions under the reform than the status quo.
Other 2016 Legislative Issues
The AZ Fraternal Order of Police had a very successful session. Bills containing the provisions of our AZ FOP legislative agenda have been passed and we were successful in our advocacy for state budget issues.
The Arizona Game Ranger Lodge 71 and the AZ FOP advocated for the Game Ranger Market Adjustment plan before and during the 2016 legislative session. As a result, the Game and Fish operating lump sum appropriation of $41,325,200 includes $795,000 from the game and fish fund to increase the minimum salary for the wildlife manager, wildlife manager 2, wildlife manager 3, wildlife manager field supervisor, law enforcement specialist 2, law enforcement specialist 3 and law enforcement program manager positions for a full year by at least $8,700.
The AZ FOP advocated for a DPS sworn and Civilian pay increase. The AZ FOP advocated that the legislature provide, at least, a 5% increase for all DPS employees. Instead, the legislature opted for a 3% increase for sworn and only $156,400 for “highway patrol” civilians pay (we believe the legislature’s negotiation members didn’t understand the difference between DPS and the “highway patrol division”).
*** The AZ FOP opposed sweeping Automobile Theft Authority Task Force monies for the purchase of a virtual training system. Instead the legislature used concealed carry funds for the system.
2016 Legislative Session Bill Summaries
HB2019: CREDITED SERVICE; MILITARY SERVICE PURCHASE (AZ FOP Provision Included)
The AZ FOP Provision specifies, retroactive to August 1, 2012, the discount rate for service purchases or transfers of service credits under EORP, PSPRS and CORP used by the actuary for the calculation of the actuarial present value of the projected benefits is an amount equal to the assumed rate of return prescribed by the PSPRS Board (less expensive employee cost calculation until July 1, 2017). Reduces the number of credited service years required to purchase active military service and modifies the discount rate for service purchases or transfers of service credit. Allows a member of the Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan (EORP), the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), or the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan (CORP) who has at least 5 years of service, rather than 10, receive credited service for active military service performed before employment if certain requirements are met. The PSPRS provision modifies the discount rate for service purchases or transfers of service credits. Beginning July 1, 2017 the discount rate for service purchases or transfers of service credits under EORP, PSPRS and CORP in an amount equal to either: (a) the lesser of the assumed rate of return prescribed by the board; or (b) the yield on a 10-year treasury note as of March 1 plus two percent (more expensive to the employee cost calculation).
HB2074: PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES; OMNIBUS (AZ FOP Bill)
Makes changes to statute relating to the Public Safety Cancer Insurance Policy Program (Program) and qualified immunity for a peace officer. Provides qualified immunity for an injury caused by a peace officer, if the injury occurred while administering emergency care at the scene of an emergency occurrence. Expands Cancer Insurance Program eligibility to include probation officers, dispatchers and other members of CORP.
HB2350: PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES; COUNSELING (Joint Effort led by Firefighters, including AZ FOP and PLEA) Requires a state or political subdivision of the state to establish a program to provide a peace officer, firefighter or public safety employee up to 12 visits of licensed counseling, paid for by the employer, if the employee was: a peace officer exposed to use of deadly force or subjected to deadly force in the line of duty, regardless of whether the officer was physically injured; A firefighter who witnessed the death of another firefighter while engaged in the line of duty; and a public safety employee who: Visually witnesses the death or maiming of one or more persons or visually witnesses the immediate aftermath of the death or maiming; Responds to or was directly involved in a criminal investigation of a dangerous crime against a child; or Requires rescue in the line of duty where one’s life was endangered.
SB1160: CORP; REVERSE DEFERRED RETIREMENT OPTION
The reverse deferred retirement option plan for members of the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan no longer terminates on June 30, 2016. Emergency clause. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.
The 2017 legislative session ended May 10, 2017 after 122 days. There were 1079 bill posted and 353 of those were signed into law. The governor completed the process of signing or vetoing the bills on May 23. The governor vetoed 11 bills. Unless otherwise stated in the bill, the effective date of each new law is August 8.
The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police Legislative Committee reviewed all bills posted during the session and closely monitored 130 of those bills.
Once again, our AZ FOP legislative team achieved 100% of our legislative agenda with the passage of three bills;
SB1160: CORP; REVERSE DEFERRED RETIREMENT OPTION
The reverse deferred retirement option plan for members of the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan no longer terminates on June 30, 2016. Emergency clause. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.
- SB1115 – increasing the PSPRS retirement benefits for Tier 2b (those hired on or after January 1, 2012);
- SB1190 – extending the 100% pay for officers injured and on workman’s comp for another 8 years;
- SB1253 – adding a provision to the Peace Officers Bill of Rights statutes concerning an advisory that must be given to officers during a disciplinary investigation before viewing their digital video recording.
While there were significant other issues we worked on during the session, the change to the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan (CORP), was the most difficult.
Nothing in the reform bill impacts any current or retired CORP participant. However, there will be a question on the ballot to switch CORP retirees to an annual COLA, like the measure approved by voters for PSPRS.
2017 Legislation Continued
Unlike PSPRS, CORP experiences massive turnover, over 50% in the first two years of employment. As such, most CORP participants are contributing to a retirement plan they will never utilize.
After many options were examined, including our proposal, the legislature’s leadership decided to move forward with a defined contribution plan, except for probation officers, for all new hires starting in July 2018. We were opposed; however, we knew the votes were there to pass the reform bill.
In order to gain several significant concessions, we later moved to neutral. The concessions we gained were;
- Very early vesting on the employer’s contributions,
- A bipartisan interim study committee, including the appropriations chair, to examine turnover in the Department of Corrections (it’s pay – Maricopa County just authorized a pay increase for Detention Officers),
- A structure that protects the current CORP funding, ensuring the system will be able to fund all current active and retiree benefits (by requiring a level percent of employer contributions – over payroll) to keep CORP properly funded and able to keep the benefit promises made to current CORP actives and retirees.
Many thanks to the AZ FOP Legislative Committee, especially, Lodge 44 President, Richard Mehner, who spent a lot of time at the legislature working on the CORP issue.
2017 Legislation Continued
FOP Bill – PSPRS; RETIREMENT BENEFIT CALCULATION For the purpose of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, the definition of “normal retirement” is modified to allow employees who become a member of the system on or after January 1, 2012 and before July 1, 2017 to retire after completing 15 years of credited service if the employee is at least 52 1/2 years of age. If a member retires under this provision and has less than 25 years of service, the monthly pension amount is the member’s average monthly benefit compensation multiplied by the number of whole and fractional years of credited service multiplied by the appropriate percentage based on the years of credited service as provided in statute. Also, the amount payable as a normal pension is no longer prohibited from exceeding 80 percent of the average monthly benefit compensation. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.
FOP Bill – SB1190: PUBLIC SAFETY; SUPPLEMENTAL BENEFITS; CONTINUATION The repeal date for the public safety officer supplemental benefits plan (100% pay for public safety officers injured and on workman comp) is extended eight years to October 1, 2025, from October 1, 2017. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR. ARS Titles Affected: 41 SB1190:PUBLIC SAFETY; SUPPLEMENTAL BENEFITS; CONTINUATION 3/29 signed by governor.
2017 Legislation Continued
FOP Bill – SB1253: PEACE OFFICERS; INVESTIGATIVE INTERVIEWS; RECORDINGS In an administrative investigation of a law enforcement officer’s use of force incident that resulted in a death or serious physical injury to another person, if the law enforcement officer recorded a video, the investigation is not complete until the officer has had an opportunity to view the video and provide any further information regarding the footage that the officer believes is relevant, and the officer must be read a specified notice before viewing the video. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.
In an administrative investigation, the law enforcement officer must be read the following notice before viewing the recorded video:
“Video evidence has limitations and may depict events differently than you recall. The video evidence may assist your memory and may assist in explaining your state of mind at the time of the incident. Viewing video evidence may or may not provide additional clarity to what you remember. You should not feel in any way compelled or obligated to explain any difference in what you remember and acted on from what viewing the additional evidence provides you.”