ARTICLE 6 - STATE HIGHWAY PATROL, GAME AND FISH WARDEN AND CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR RETIREMENT
 
9-3-601.  Short title.
 
This act is known and may be cited as "The Wyoming State Highway Patrol, Game and Fish Warden and Criminal Investigator Retirement Act".
 
9-3-602.  Definitions.
 
(a)  As used in this article:
 
(i)  "Accumulated contribution" means the sum of all the amounts deducted from the compensation of a member subsequent to the effective date of the Wyoming Retirement Act and credited to his individual account;
 
(ii)  "Board" or "retirement board" means the retirement board of the Wyoming retirement system established by the Wyoming Retirement Act;
 
(iii)  "Credited service" means service for which contributions were made and not refunded;
 
(iv)  "Criminal investigator" means any full-time special agent employed by the division of criminal investigation of the attorney general's office who is a sworn peace officer;
 
(v)  "Employee" means:
 
(A)  Any person who is employed by the Wyoming state highway patrol division as a sworn law enforcement officer;
 
(B)  Any person who is commissioned as a full time law enforcement officer of the Wyoming state game and fish department;
 
(C)  Any criminal investigator as defined in paragraph (iv) of this subsection; or
 
(D)  Any person designated and appointed as capitol police under W.S. 9-1-612 and qualified pursuant to W.S. 9-1-701 through 9-1-707.
 
(vi)  "Final actual salary" means the gross salary paid to the employee during the last full month of credited service;
 
(vii)  Repealed By Laws 2001, Ch. 32, § 2.
 
(viii)  "Fund" or "retirement fund" means the Wyoming retirement account established in the Wyoming Retirement Act;
 
(ix)  "Partial disability" means a medically determined physical or mental impairment which renders the employee unable to function as an employee and which is reasonably expected to last at least twelve (12) months;
 
(x)  "Interest" means interest compounded annually at such rate or rates as shall be determined by the board, not exceeding the average amount of interest actually earned per annum by the fund;
 
(xi)  "Retirement program" means the Wyoming state highway patrol, game and fish warden and criminal investigator retirement program created by this article;
 
(xii)  "Salary" for W.S. 9-3-604 and 9-3-605 means the cash remuneration paid, including contributions required by W.S. 9-3-604, to an employee for his services;
 
(xiii)  "Total disability" means a medically determined physical or mental impairment which renders the employee totally unable to work in any occupation for which he is reasonably suited by training or experience and which is reasonably expected to last at least twelve (12) months;
 
(xiv)  "Service credit" means the credit earned by an employee for benefits and benefits payable under the retirement program. Service credit is earned on the basis of actual years of employment for an employer subject to this article under rules adopted by the board under W.S. 9-3-609;
 
(xv)  "Public law enforcement agency" means a public agency having police power, charged with enforcing state criminal statutes or municipal ordinances and employing law enforcement personnel qualified pursuant to W.S. 9-1-701 through 9-1-707;
 
(xvi)  "Highest average salary" means the employee's average annual salary for the highest paid three (3) continuous years of service;
 
(xvii)  "This act" or "this article" means W.S. 9-3-601 through 9-3-620;
 
(xviii)  "Duty connected disability" means a disability from an illness, injury or disease which results primarily from a specific act or occurrence determinable by a definite time and place, from a physical or mental trauma which arises from the nature and in the course of a person's law enforcement employment;
 
(xix)  "Eligible retirement plan" means as defined in W.S. 9-3-402(a)(xxvii);
 
(xx)  "Rollover contribution" means as defined in W.S. 9-3-402(a)(xxviii).
 
9-3-603.  Administration.
 
(a)  There is created the retirement program which is for the benefit of the employees defined in W.S. 9-3-602(a)(v).
 
(b)  The administration and responsibility for the operation of the retirement program is under the direction and control of the board. All matters pertaining to the board are applicable to the retirement program created by this article.
 
9-3-604.  Employee contributions.
 
(a)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, every employee covered by this article shall pay into the fund thirteen and fifty-four hundredths percent (13.54%) of his salary from September 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, and thereafter fourteen and fifty-six hundredths percent (14.56%) of his salary. For the period from September 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 forty-five hundredths percent (.45%), for the period from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016 ninety-six hundredths percent (.96%) and for the period from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, fifty-one hundredths percent (.51%) salary contribution required by this subsection shall be paid by the employer on behalf of the member. To the extent the remaining amount is not paid by an employer on behalf of the member, this payment shall be deducted each pay period from employees' salaries by the respective chief fiscal officers of the employers.
 
(b)  The contributions required by subsection (a) of this section shall be paid by the employer for employees covered under this article in order to be treated as employer contributions for the sole purpose of determining tax treatment under the United States internal revenue code.
 
(c)  The contributions under subsection (b) of this section shall be paid from the source of funds which is used in paying salary to the employee. The employer may pay these contributions by a reduction in cash salary of the employee or by an offset against a future salary increase, or by a combination of a reduction in salary and an offset against a future salary increase, provided:
 
(i)  No such salary reduction or offset, or combination thereof, shall exceed the percentage amount actually being deducted from an employee's salary for contributions to the retirement program; and
 
(ii)  Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, any employer may pay any amount of an employee's share of retirement contributions without a salary reduction or offset, or combination thereof.  For the period from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014, at least one and sixty-two hundredths percent (1.62%), for the period from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016 at least one and ninety-six hundredths percent (1.96%), for the period from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 at least two and thirty hundredths percent (2.30%) and thereafter at least two and sixty-four hundredths (2.64%) of the employee's share of retirement contributions shall be paid through a reduction in cash salary of the employee unless specified otherwise by legislative act.
 
9-3-605.  Employer contributions.
 
Each employer subject to this article shall pay into the fund a contribution equal to twelve and ninety-six hundredths percent (12.96%) until June 30, 2014, and for the period from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, thirteen and eighty-six hundredths percent (13.86%) and thereafter fourteen and eighty-eight hundredths percent (14.88%) of all salaries paid to its employees. These contributions, together with the employees' contributions, shall be transferred and credited to the retirement program in a manner the board directs.
 
9-3-606.  Transfer of funds to retirement program.
 
All employee and matching contributions made to the Wyoming retirement system or other retirement system  on behalf of an employee now covered under the retirement program and the accrued interest thereon shall be transferred to the  retirement program.
 
9-3-607.  Age of retirement.
 
(a)  Any employee with six (6) or more years of service to his credit is eligible to receive a retirement allowance under this article when he attains age fifty (50).
 
(b)  Effective July 1, 1998, any employee retiring after July 1, 1998, with twenty-five (25) or more years of service may elect to retire and receive a benefit upon attaining age fifty (50) as described in W.S. 9-3-610.
 
(c)  Repealed by Laws 1993, ch. 120, §§ 1, 2.
 
(d)  Any employee in service who has attained age sixty-five (65), shall be retired not later than the last day of the calendar month in which his 65th birthday occurs.
 
9-3-608.  Retirement allowance.
 
Any employee who has left the service, and who has not withdrawn his accumulated contributions, is eligible to receive a retirement allowance computed according to the terms of this article at the age specified in W.S. 9-3-607.
 
9-3-609.  Determination of years of service by board; credit for time spent in military service.
 
(a)  The board shall determine the total years of service creditable to each employee in determining eligibility for retirement under this article. It may require employees to file detailed statements of all service as a state employee and to give other necessary information as a condition to the receipt of benefits.
 
(b)  The board shall establish in appropriate rules and regulations how much service in any year is the equivalent of one (1) year of service, but in no case shall it allow credit for more than one (1) year of service for all service rendered within one (1) calendar year.
 
(c)  Credit shall be allowed for any period of time after commencement of participation in the retirement program which an employee spends in active military or other emergency service of the United States in accordance with rules adopted by the retirement board, pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. 4301 et seq.
 
(d)  Effective May 27, 1983, if an employee receives a partial or total disability benefit under this article and that employee subsequently returns to service as a highway patrol, criminal investigator, capitol police or game and fish employee, service credit shall be allowed for the period during which the employee received those benefits.
 
9-3-610.  Amount of benefit.
 
(a)  The service retirement allowance payable to an employee under this article at age fifty (50) shall be equal to two and one-half percent (2.5%) of the employee's highest average salary for each year of credited service in the program, provided the retirement allowance does not exceed seventy-five percent (75%) of the highest average salary.
 
(b)  Subject to subsection (c) of this section, effective July 1, 1991, the amount of allowance being paid under subsection (a) of this section shall be increased as follows:
 
(i)  For persons who retired prior to July 1, 1978, eleven dollars ($11.00) per month for each year of service in Wyoming;
 
(ii)  For persons who retired on or after July 1, 1978 but prior to July 1, 1980, six dollars ($6.00) per month for each year of service in Wyoming;
 
(iii)  For persons who retired on or after July 1, 1980 but prior to July 1, 1985, three dollars ($3.00) per month for each year of service in Wyoming;
 
(iv)  For persons who retired on or after July 1, 1985 but prior to July 1, 1987, one dollar ($1.00) per month for each year of service in Wyoming.
 
(c)  The increases specified in subsection (b) of this section apply only if the legislature appropriates the necessary funds and only for persons with full-time service who submit to the board an application for the increase accompanied by an affidavit verifying the applicant's service and retirement.
 
(d)  Repealed By Laws 2012, Ch. 107, § 3.
 
(e)  In addition to subsections (a), (b) and (d) of this section, the service retirement allowance payable under this article for persons retired prior to April 1, 1996, shall be increased by five dollars ($5.00) per month for each year of service in Wyoming.
 
(f)  Benefits and allowances shall not be payable under this article to the extent that they exceed the limitations imposed by section 415(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.
 
9-3-611.  Eligibility and amount of disability allowance.
 
(a)  Any employee who suffers a partial or total disability resulting from an individual and specific act, the type of which would normally occur only while employed as an employee, is eligible for a duty-connected disability allowance.  If the specific act involves a traumatic event which directly causes an immediate cardiovascular condition resulting in partial or total disability, the employee is eligible for a partial or total duty-connected disability allowance.
 
(b)  Any employee with ten (10) years of credited service who suffers a partial or total disability and who is not eligible for a duty-connected disability allowance is eligible for an ordinary partial or total disability allowance.
 
(c)  The determination of disability and its cause shall be made by the board after receiving the recommendation of its medical committee.
 
(d)  Disability allowances shall be fifty percent (50%) of highest average salary for nonduty connected total or partial disability. Disability allowances shall be sixty-two and one-half percent (62.5%) of highest average salary for duty-connected total or partial disability.
 
9-3-612.  Payment of disability allowance.
 
(a)  Disability allowance payments shall be made to an employee for each month beginning with the month in which he becomes eligible to receive such allowance and ending with the month in which he ceases to be eligible or dies.
 
(b)  Any employee receiving a nonduty-connected disability allowance who has not reached age fifty (50) shall report to the board annually, in a form the board prescribes, his total earnings for the preceding calendar year from any gainful employment for wages and any worker's compensation benefits. One-half (1/2) of the excess of such earnings or benefits, or both, over the base pay of the rank held at the time of disability shall be deducted, in a manner the board determines, from that employee's disability allowance beginning ninety (90) days following the day the report is due. If any member received a disability allowance for less than twelve (12) months in the calendar year for which earnings are reported, the deduction, if any, shall be determined on a pro rata basis.
 
(c)  Any member receiving a partial disability allowance whose disability is found to no longer exist, shall continue to receive the disability allowance if he is actively seeking employment as an employee, as defined by W.S. 9-3-602(a)(v), and has not been offered an employee position. In order to qualify under this subsection, the employee shall report to the board annually, in a form the board prescribes. The board shall establish by rule, requirements for meeting the provisions of this subsection. If the member refuses or fails to meet the requirements of this subsection or applicable rules of the board, his disability allowance shall be discontinued.
 
9-3-613.  Payment on death; duty related.
 
If a member of the retirement program dies as a result of any activity related to official duties as an employee prior to retirement under this article, a monthly death benefit equal to fifty percent (50%) of the member's final actual salary at time of death shall be paid to the surviving spouse. In addition, an amount equal to five percent (5%) of the final actual salary shall be paid as a benefit for each unmarried child under the age of eighteen (18) years, provided the total death benefit paid to the surviving spouse and children in accordance with this section shall not exceed the employee's final actual salary.
 
9-3-614.  Payment on death; not duty-related death of retired member.
 
(a)  If a member dies prior to retirement and his death is not related to his official duties as an employee, a monthly nonduty death benefit shall be paid to the surviving spouse, equal to two percent (2%) of the member's final actual salary at time of death for each year of credited service. The maximum nonduty death benefit payable to the spouse shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the member's final actual salary. In addition, an amount equal to five percent (5%) of the final actual salary shall be paid as a benefit for each unmarried child under the age of eighteen (18) years. The total nonduty death benefit paid to the surviving spouse and children in accordance with this subsection shall not exceed sixty percent (60%) of the employee's final actual salary.
 
(b)  If a retired member of the retirement program dies, the spouse of the deceased member shall receive a benefit equal to fifty percent (50%) of the retirement allowance paid in accordance with W.S. 9-3-607 through 9-3-614. In determining the benefit to be paid to the spouse, no reduction due to social security shall be taken into account. In addition, an amount equal to five percent (5%) of the final actual salary shall be paid as a  benefit for each unmarried child under the age of eighteen (18) years. The total benefit paid to the surviving spouse and children on the death of the retired member in accordance with this subsection shall not exceed sixty percent (60%) of the employee's final actual salary.
 
9-3-615.  Election of coverage under Wyoming Retirement Act.
 
(a)  Subject to uniform rules and regulations the retirement board  prescribes, instead of the service allowance provided in this article and instead of the benefit specified in W.S. 9-3-614(b), a member of the retirement program may elect one (1) of the following forms of service retirement benefits which shall be the actuarial equivalent of the benefit to which he would otherwise be entitled:
 
(i)  A one hundred percent (100%) joint and survivor benefit which provides reduced monthly service retirement benefit payments during the retired member's life and upon his death after retirement continues payments in the same reduced amount to a designated beneficiary during the life of the beneficiary;
 
(ii)  A benefit which provides reduced monthly service retirement payments with provision for the continuance of payments for ten (10) years certain and life thereafter.  If the retired member dies within ten (10) years after retirement, the remaining guaranteed payments shall be made to his designated beneficiary.  This beneficiary may be changed at any time by written notification to the board as provided in subsection (b) of this section;
 
(iii)  The largest possible benefit for life with no lump sum refund or benefit for anyone else upon the retired member's death;
 
(iv)  Any other modified monthly service retirement benefit, including any other modified joint and survivor monthly service retirement benefit, actuarially determined, which the board approves.
 
(b)  An election of an optional benefit shall be in writing and filed with the system prior to the first benefit payment.  The election is final and not subject to change unless a designated beneficiary dies prior to the first benefit payment, in which case the election is void, the member may designate a new beneficiary and may select a different option.  As provided in paragraph (a)(iii) of this section, upon written notice to the board, a member may change a beneficiary at any time during the ten (10) year period.
 
(c)  The retirement benefits payable under optional forms available under this section shall be the actuarial equivalent amount of the normal benefit form under W.S.9-3-610.
 
9-3-616.  Applicability of portions of Wyoming Retirement Act.
 
Requirements for eligibility for disability retirement under this article, either related or not related to official duties as an employee, shall be in accordance with the disability provisions outlined in the Wyoming Retirement Act.
 
9-3-617.  Refund of contributions upon termination of employment; redeposit of withdrawn contributions; purchase of service credits.
 
(a)  Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any employee covered by this article who terminates his employment and elects not to continue to be covered by the retirement program is entitled to a refund of his contributions together with the regular rate of interest specified by the retirement board. Refunds may be made only upon written request to the board. Any employee who withdraws from the retirement program under this subsection shall forfeit all rights to further benefits, employer contributions and service credit under this article.
 
(b)  Any employee who later returns to service covered under this article may redeposit the amount of the contributions withdrawn, in lump sum, together with interest, and upon earning not less than two (2) years service credit, may reestablish his service credits as of the time of withdrawal of his contributions. Any redeposit payment pursuant to this subsection shall be made not later than ten (10) years following the date of reemployment or prior to retirement, whichever first occurs.
 
(c)  No employee is entitled to a refund of any contributions if he is employed for a salary by an employer subject to this article.
 
(d)  Any employee may elect to purchase up to five (5) years of service credit for full-time employment in law enforcement which is performed for another state or political subdivision of another state, the federal government or for any public law enforcement agency in Wyoming as authorized and limited by section 415(c) and 415(n) of the Internal Revenue Code and if the employee does not vest in any retirement plan of the agency for which the prior service being purchased was earned.  Any employee electing to purchase service credit shall pay into the account a single lump-sum amount equal to the actuarial equivalent of the benefits to be derived from the service credit computed on the basis of actuarial assumptions approved by the board and the individual's attained age and average salary for the highest three (3) continuous years of covered service. The lump sum may be paid with personal funds or, subject to rules and regulations established by the board, through rollover contributions.  Unless received by the retirement program in the form of a direct rollover, the rollover contribution shall be paid to the program on or before sixty (60) days after the date it was received by the member.  Service credit purchased under this subsection shall not be used to determine vested eligibility to receive benefits under this article.
 
9-3-618.  Disposition of funds; designated custodian of monies.
 
Funds accruing to the retirement program under this article shall be commingled with all money on deposit with the state treasurer in the Wyoming retirement account. The board may designate the state treasurer or a custodial bank approved by the state treasurer as the custodian of the monies and shall administer them in accordance with W.S. 9-3-424.
 
9-3-619.  Payment of employers' contribution from highway fund, game and fish fund and attorney general budget.
 
Provision for the payment of the employers' contribution under this article shall be made in the budget of the Wyoming highway patrol division as approved by the department of transportation out of the state highway fund, in the budget of the Wyoming game and fish commission out of the game and fish fund and in the budget of the attorney general for the division of criminal investigation and for capitol police.
 
9-3-620.  Exemption of benefits from state and local taxes, execution and attachment; benefits paid under qualified domestic relations order.
 
(a)  Benefits and allowances set forth under this article are exempt from any state, county or municipal tax and are not subject to execution or attachment by trustee process or otherwise, in law or equity, or under any other process, and are not assignable except as specially provided in this article.
 
(b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, benefits and allowances under this article may be paid in accordance with qualified domestic relations orders pursuant to W.S. 9-3-426.