(1) SHORT TITLE.—This chapter shall be known and cited as the “Florida Retirement System Act.”
(2) CONSOLIDATION OF EXISTING SYSTEMS AND LAWS.—
(a) Any officer or employee who is elected, appointed, or employed by the state or any subdivision thereof on or after December 1, 1970, shall not be eligible for membership, rights, or any privileges under chapters 122 (State and County Officers and Employees’ Retirement System) and 238 (retirement system for school teachers) and those sections of chapter 321 pertaining to highway patrol pensions and pension trust fund.
(b) The chapters or retirement system laws named in paragraph (a) are hereby consolidated as separate instruments appended to the “Florida Retirement System Act” established by this chapter, and the administration of said chapters or retirement systems shall be consolidated with the administration of the Florida Retirement System established by this chapter, and the Florida Retirement System shall assume all liabilities related to the payment of benefits to members and their beneficiaries under the respective retirement systems of the members and their beneficiaries.
(3) PRESERVATION OF RIGHTS.— (a) The rights of members of the retirement systems established by chapters 122, 238, and 321 shall not be impaired, nor shall their benefits be reduced by virtue of any part of this chapter, except that if an eligible member of a retirement system established by chapter 122, chapter 238, or chapter 321, elects between April 15, 1971, and June 1, 1971, inclusive, to transfer to the Florida Retirement System, he or she shall be transferred to the Florida Retirement System on June 1, 1971, and shall be subject to the provisions of the Florida Retirement System established by this chapter and at retirement have his or her benefits calculated in accordance with the provisions of s. 121.091. (b) The rights of members of any retirement system established by local or special act or municipal ordinance shall not be impaired, nor shall their benefits be reduced by virtue of any part of this chapter. 1. If an eligible member of any such retirement system elects to transfer to the Florida Retirement System in a referendum held in accordance with this chapter by the governing body administering such local retirement system, he or she shall be transferred to the Florida Retirement System on the date that his or her unit is accepted for membership therein and shall be subject to the provisions of the Florida Retirement System established by this chapter and at retirement have his or her benefits calculated in accordance with the provisions of s. 121.091. However, the governing body shall preserve the rights of employees of any existing local retirement system not electing to transfer to the Florida Retirement System.
2. Whenever any employee of a governmental entity which has a local retirement system becomes eligible to participate in the Florida Retirement System by virtue of the consolidation or merger of governments or the transfer of functions between units of government, such employee shall elect either to continue to participate in the local retirement system or to become a member of the Florida Retirement System. For any such employee who elects to continue to be a member of the local retirement system, the Florida Retirement System employer is authorized to make the required employer contributions to the local retirement system and may make appropriate deductions from the employee’s salary as required by the local plan to preserve his or her retirement benefits.
(c) Any member of the Supreme Court Justices, District Courts of Appeal Judges, and Circuit Judges’ Retirement System, former chapter 123, who terminates his or her service as a justice or judge and accepts employment covered under this chapter and elects to transfer to the Florida Retirement System rather than retain his or her vested rights under former chapter 123 may transfer to the Florida Retirement System. All contributions of such member, including matching contributions, shall be transferred from the judicial retirement trust fund to the system trust fund, and his or her normal retirement benefit shall conform with s. 121.091 from November 30, 1970, or from date of transfer thereafter. Any justice or judge electing to transfer to the Florida Retirement System pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph may, at any time prior to retirement, pay for and receive credit for any service performed in any position covered by the existing systems as defined in this chapter for which he or she has not already received credit. The amount of such payments and the credit received for such service shall be the same as required for a member to obtain credit for prior service pursuant to s. 8(2), chapter 70-112, Laws of Florida, appearing as s. 121.081(2). Any justice or judge who elects to transfer to the Florida Retirement System as provided herein and who retires under the provisions of this chapter shall be eligible for judicial service pursuant to the applicable provisions of law if he or she has had no less than 5 years of judicial service at the time of retirement.
(d) The rights of members of the retirement system established by this chapter shall not be impaired by virtue of the conversion of the Florida Retirement System to an employee noncontributory system. As of July 1, 1974, the rights of members of the retirement system established by this chapter are declared to be of a contractual nature, entered into between the member and the state, and such rights shall be legally enforceable as valid contract rights and shall not be abridged in any way.
(e) Any member of the Florida Retirement System or any member of an existing system under this chapter on July 1, 1975, who is not retired and who is, has been, or shall be, suspended and reinstated without compensation shall receive retirement service credit for the period of time from the date of suspension to the date of reinstatement, provided:
1. The creditable service claimed for the period of suspension does not exceed 24 months;
2. The member returns to active employment and remains on the employer’s payroll for at least 1 calendar month; and
3. The member pays into the Retirement System Trust Fund the total required employer contributions plus the total employee contributions, if applicable, based on the member’s monthly compensation in effect for the pay period immediately preceding the period of suspension, prorated for the said period of suspension, plus interest thereon at a rate of 4 percent per annum compounded annually until July 1, 1975, and 6.5 percent interest thereafter until paid. If permitted by federal law, the member may pay to the Internal Revenue Service the total cost, if any, of providing social security coverage for the period of suspension if any social security payments have been made by the employer for the benefit of the member during such period. Should there be any conflict as to payment for social security coverage, the payment for retirement service credit shall be made and retirement service credit granted regardless of such conflict.
(f) The rights under an existing system of any former member of such system who has become a member of the Florida Retirement System, either by affirmative choice made during the initial transfer period of October 15, 1970, through November 30, 1970, or at any time on or after December 1, 1970, or by operation of the compulsory participation provisions of s. 121.051(1), are limited to those rights that existed and were exercised in such system at the time participation in the system ceased. The rights of such member after transfer shall be subject to the provisions of the Florida Retirement System established by this chapter, and at retirement the member shall have his or her benefit calculated in accordance with s. 121.091. The provisions of this paragraph are declaratory of the legislative intent upon the original enactment of this chapter and are hereby deemed to have been in effect from such date. 1(g) Any member of the Florida Retirement System or any member of an existing system under this chapter who is not retired and who is, has been, or shall be dismissed from employment shall be considered terminated from active membership in such system. 1. If such dismissal is rescinded by proper authority or through legal proceedings, the member is eligible to receive retirement service credit for such period of dismissal if:
a. The dismissal action taken against the member is determined to be incorrect and is negated, the employee is made whole for the period of the dismissal or any portion thereof, and employment is reinstated; and
b. The employer pays into the Retirement System Trust Fund the total required employer contributions for the period for which the employee is made whole, plus interest at 6.5 percent compounded annually until full payment is made. The employee shall pay the total employee contributions, if applicable. The employer shall pay the interest on employee contributions, if applicable.
2. If the dismissal action is subsequently changed to a suspension by proper authority or through legal proceedings, the member is eligible to receive retirement service credit, provided the member’s employment is reinstated, restoring the employee-employer relationship, and the employee pays the total required employer and employee contributions and complies with all requirements in paragraph (e).
1(h) Effective July 1, 2011, the retirement system shall require employer and employee contributions as provided in s. 121.071 and part III of this chapter. 1Note.—Section 41, ch. 2011-68, provides that:
“(1) Effective upon this act becoming a law, the State Board of Administration and the Department of Management Services shall request, as soon as practicable, a determination letter and private letter ruling from the United States Internal Revenue Service. If the United States Internal Revenue Service refuses to act upon a request for a private letter ruling, then a legal opinion from a qualified tax attorney or firm may be substituted for such private letter ruling.
“(2) If the board or the department receives notification from the United States Internal Revenue Service that this act or any portion of this act will cause the Florida Retirement System, or a portion thereof, to be disqualified for tax purposes under the Internal Revenue Code, then the portion that will cause the disqualification does not apply. Upon receipt of such notice, the state board and the department shall notify the presiding officers of the Legislature.”