All GSRA Members and other friends,



Bad News! Senate Bill 80, the alternative investment bill allowing the Employees Retirement System to invest in a type of higher risk and potentially higher yield opportunities, passed the House Retirement Committee on Wednesday March 19th by a vote of 7-6.  All of your work and assurances from Representatives that the bill would not pass out of committee has been to no avail.


However, the way the bill was passed leaves “good policy making” very questionable.  Chairman Ben Bridges at first asked for a voice vote and ruled the ayes had won.   At that point, an opposition member on the Committee asked for a roll call vote.  Chairman Bridges, using a committee roll, called the roll and at first indicated the bill lost - 5 ayes to 6 nays.   Then, it was called to the Chairman’s attention that 2 Ex-officio committee members were present.  These two members were polled and both indicated they would vote for the bill.  At that point the chairman indicated he would support the bill, thereby breaking a tie vote.  Thus only the vote of Representative Jerry Keen would be needed for passage of the bill, and he was recorded as voting for the bill in order to create a tie.  When Chairman Bridges voted for the bill—breaking the tie—it passed 7 to 6. 


Representative Jerry Keen is the Majority Leader for the House of Representatives and represents the 179th District (St. Simons area).  Although he is on several committees as an ex-officio member, including the Retirement Committee, the March 19th was among the first Retirement Committee meetings that Majority Leader Keen has attended during the 2008 Session.  


Also noted is that Representative Tyrone Brooks voted "for" the bill.  When asked after the meeting why he voted for the bill, Rep. Brooks replied that the Rainbow Force Coalition asked him to support it.  


The next step for SB 80 is to be placed on the House Calendar by the Rules Committee.  The Majority Leader also serves on the Rules Committee where SB 80 will assuredly be supported. 


If you are a retiree, or a present state employee who plans to be a retiree, then this legislation, if passed, would definitely affect you.  If you want to voice your opinion on SB-80, then you should contact YOUR State Representative and express your opinion on it to him or her.  To best get your opinion heard and considering that time is of the essence, you should first contact them by sending them an e-mail, and then follow up with a personal phone call.  It is best to do both.  Be sure to review the web page Contacting Legislators if you need assistance in how to accomplish this.  


GSRA is an advocate against the passage of SB-80 because of the riskiness of the investments that SB-80 would allow and because of the prohibition in the legislation against any disclosure to the general public, to retirees who have contributed into the fund, or to current state employees, of the nature of the investments made under SB-80.  That disclosure is just not a prohibition against current disclosure but for disclosure a year later, and against disclosure three years later, and even against disclosure twenty years later.  Why all the secrecy?  If you are interested in why GSRA advocates against the bill you can review GSRA's Analysis of SB-80 for additional information.


If you are so inclined and want to express your opinion further, you could contact the Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson, his e-mail address is [email protected] and his telephone number is 404-656-5020.   


Further you can contact the membership of the Rules Committee and express your opinion to them through an e-mail and a phone call.


Additionally if you are familiar with or know any of the Representatives, even though they are not your Representative, you should contact them in the same manner as above and share with them your opinion on SB-80.






To hear why Senator Judson Hill's excluded TRS from this bill.



For suggestions about Contacting Your Legislators



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