CS/CS/HB 1121, Florida Retirement System, sponsored by Representatives Robin Bartleman (D-Weston) and Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale), has unanimously passed out of the Florida House of Representatives. Current retirement statutes do not specifically authorize Florida Retirement System (FRS) retirees to provide volunteer services to FRS employers within one year of retirement without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. This bill authorizes an FRS employer to establish a post-employment volunteer program that allows retirees to provide civic, charitable, and humanitarian services during their first year of retirement. The Senate companion bill, CS/HB 1156, sponsored by Senator Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland), has unanimously passed through each referred Senate Committee and is ready for consideration in the Senate Chamber.
“Over 20,000 FRS employees retire each year. They have dedicated their lives to the State of Florida, as law enforcement officers, agency staff and teachers. Community service is in their blood,” said Representative Bartleman. “Upon retirement many look forward to giving back to their community by serving as guardian ad litem or by volunteering in their grandchildren’s classroom. There are law enforcement officers who want to volunteer with K-9 dogs and volunteer for reserve officer programs. This bill will now give them the opportunity to do so without the risk of losing their benefits.”
“There are instances where current laws may have unintended consequences, when common sense should prevail,” said Senator Burton. “Allowing Florida Retirement System retirees to give back to their community, in a volunteer capacity, should not compromise their retirement benefits. I am proud to see this important legislation that will give our retirees the freedom to volunteer in any capacity they may choose during their first year of retirement pass in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to passing it in the Senate in the coming days.”
The bill specifies the criteria in which the volunteer program must operate so that each retiree and the FRS program remain in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.