ARTICLE 7 - JUDICIAL RETIREMENT
 
9-3-701.  Short title.
 
This act is known and may be cited as "The Wyoming Judicial Retirement Act".
 
9-3-702.  Definitions.
 
(a)  As used in this act:
 
(i)  "Account" means an account established for the purpose of accounting for funds used to provide benefits to employees covered under this act;
 
(ii)  "Board" or "retirement board" means the retirement board of the Wyoming retirement system established by the Wyoming Retirement Act, article 4 of this chapter 3;
 
(iii)  "Credited service" means service as a justice of the supreme court, as a district judge or a circuit court judge for which contributions were made and not refunded under this act;
 
(iv)  "Disability" means a determination by the supreme court or a special supreme court of mandatory retirement of the employee for a disability as provided in Wyoming Constitution, Article 5, Section 6(g);
 
(v)  "Employee" means any justice of the supreme court, district judge appointed or circuit court judge appointed to any of those offices on or after July 1, 1998, and with no prior service as a justice of the supreme court or district judge at the time of the appointment. "Employee" also includes any justice or judge who elects to participate in the judicial retirement program under this act in accordance with W.S. 9-3-713;
 
(vi)  "Employer" means the Wyoming supreme court, both for justices and circuit court judges, or a district court;
 
(vii)  "Highest average salary" means the average annual salary of a member for the highest paid three (3) years of continuous service;
 
(viii)  "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 account;
 
(ix)  "Retirement program" means the Wyoming judicial retirement program created by this act;
 
(x)  "Salary" means the cash remuneration paid, including contributions required by W.S. 9-3-704, to an employee for his services;
 
(xi)  "This act" means W.S. 9-3-701 through 9-3-713.
 
9-3-703.  Administration.
 
(a)  There is created the retirement program which is for the benefit of the employees defined in W.S. 9-3-702(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 act.  For the purposes of administration of this act, the Wyoming Retirement Act applies to this act to the extent not inconsistent with this act, or where by the terms of the Wyoming Retirement Act, its provisions can have no application. Specifically, with respect to this act, W.S. 9-3-408 applies with respect to investment of funds and service as custodian of funds in the account and the board has rulemaking authority in accordance with W.S. 9-3-409.
 
9-3-704.  Employee contributions.
 
(a)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, every employee covered by this article shall pay into the account nine and twenty-two one-hundredths percent (9.22%) of his salary.  To the extent this contribution is not paid by the employer as authorized in this section, this payment shall be deducted each pay period from employees' salaries by the respective fiscal officers of the employers.
 
(b)  The entire contribution 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 without offset of the employee's salary in the same salary percentage as provided by state employers under  W.S. 9-3-412(c).  The employer shall also reduce the cash salary of the employee by three and sixty-five hundredths percent (3.65%).
 
9-3-705.  Employer contributions.
 
Each employer subject to this act shall pay into the account a contribution equal to fourteen and five-tenths percent (14.5%) of the salary paid to each employee covered by this act. These contributions, together with the employees' contributions shall be transferred and credited to the retirement program in a manner the board directs.
 
9-3-706.  Age of retirement.
 
(a)  An employee is eligible for retirement under this act when he has served as a judge of the supreme court, a district court, a circuit court or service in any combination of those positions after July 1, 1998, if:
 
(i)  He is at least sixty (60) years of age and has at least twenty (20) years of  credited service;
 
(ii)  He is at least sixty-five (65) years of age and has at least four (4) years of credited service;
 
(iii)  He has less than four (4) years of credited service but has served continuously from the date of appointment to the age of seventy (70) years;
 
(iv)  He has not less than ten (10) years and is retired for disability;
 
(v)  He has not less than four (4) years of service to his credit and is at least fifty-five (55) years of age, but any benefit received by an employee under this paragraph shall be reduced by five percent (5%) for each year of retirement prior to age sixty-five (65).
 
9-3-707.  Amount of benefit; adjustments.
 
(a)  Any employee who has left service covered under this act, and who has not withdrawn his accumulated contributions, is eligible to receive a retirement allowance computed according to the terms of this act at the age specified in W.S. 9-3-706.  The service retirement allowance payable to an employee under this act is subject to the following:
 
(i)  The amount shall be equal to the percentage computed under paragraph (ii) of this subsection times the employee's highest average salary as defined in W.S. 9-3-702(a)(vii);
 
(ii)  For the purposes of making the computation under paragraph (i) of this subsection, the percentage shall be computed based upon the sum of the following for credited service:
 
(A)  Four percent (4%) for each of the first five (5) years of credited service;
 
(B)  Three percent (3%) for each year from and including the sixth year through the fifteenth year of credited service;
 
(C)  Two percent (2%) for each year from and including the sixteenth year through the twentieth year of credited service;
 
(D)  One percent (1%) for each year from and after the twenty-first year of credited service.
 
(iii)  Repealed by Laws 2008, Ch. 21, § 2.
 
(iv)  For an employee retired for disability, W.S. 9-3-422(a) and (b) apply with respect to computing the amount of the benefit.
 
(b)  Repealed By Laws 2012, Ch. 107, § 3.
 
(c)  W.S. 9-3-430 applies to this act.
 
(d)  Benefits shall not be payable under the program to the extent that they exceed the limitations imposed by section 415(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The board shall provide any benefits in excess of the limitations under special pay plans authorized under W.S. 9-3-405(b) to the extent the benefits can be provided and the program retain qualified plan status under the Internal Revenue Code.
 
9-3-708.  Death benefits; survivor's benefits.
 
(a)  W.S. 9-3-421 applies to employees and their survivors under this act.
 
(b)  Upon the death of a former employee who is receiving a retirement allowance  under this act, the employee's survivor shall receive a monthly retirement allowance during the survivor's life equal to fifty percent (50%) of the allowance received by the former employee under this act at the time of the employee's death.
 
9-3-709.  Refund of contributions upon termination of employment; procedure; redeposit; limitation on refund.
 
Any employee covered by this act who terminates his employment is entitled to a refund of the amount of the employee's contributions plus interest thereon. The refunds shall be made only upon written request to the board. Any employee who withdraws from the system under this section shall forfeit all rights to further benefits, employer matching contributions and service credit under the system. Any person who later returns to service covered by this act may redeposit the amount of the contributions withdrawn, in lump sum, together with interest, and upon earning not less than two (2) years credited service, may reestablish his service credits as of the time of withdrawal of his contributions. Any redeposit payment pursuant to this section shall be made not later than  ten (10) years following the date of reemployment or prior to retirement, whichever first occurs.
 
9-3-710.  Disposition of funds; custodian of monies.
 
Funds accruing to the account used to fund benefits for the program under this act shall be commingled with all money on deposit with the state treasurer in the Wyoming retirement account. The board may designate the state treasurer as the custodian of the retirement account. Disbursements from the account for purposes as specified in W.S. 9-3-407(c) shall be made only upon warrants drawn by the state auditor upon certification by authorized system employees.  All disbursements from the account shall be accounted for in accordance with the uniform state accounting system or in a manner approved by the state auditor or the state treasurer as provided under W.S. 9-4-214.  As used in this section, "authorized system employees" means the director and his designees who have authorized signatures on file with the state auditor, "director" means the director of the Wyoming retirement system, and "system" means the Wyoming retirement system.
 
9-3-711.  Payment of employers' contribution from budgets.
 
Provision for the payment of the employers' contribution under this act shall be made in the budget of the Wyoming supreme court and the district courts.  Provision for the payment of that portion of the employee's contribution authorized to be made by the employer under this act shall be requested in the budget of the Wyoming supreme court and the district courts.
 
9-3-712.  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.
 
9-3-713.  Election to transfer into the system established under this act.
 
(a)  Any Wyoming supreme court justice, district judge or circuit court judge appointed before July 1, 1998, may elect to be covered under the retirement system established under this act subject to the following terms and conditions:
 
(i)  The election shall be made by providing notice to the board not later than December 31, 1999, or prior to retirement, whichever is earlier, and making any payment required under paragraph (iii) of this subsection.  An election made pursuant to this section may be rescinded at any time before the electing judge or justice collects retirement from the retirement system established under this act;
 
(ii)  For county judges, the board shall transfer the funds in the judge's member account in the retirement system as defined in W.S. 9-3-402(a)(i) and the matching employer contributions along with interest on both to the account created in W.S. 9-3-702(a)(i) to fund retirement under this act;
 
(iii)  A circuit court judge making an election under this section shall also pay to the board an amount determined by the board which shall be deposited into the retirement system account used to fund the retirement benefits under this act. The amount shall be equal to three and sixty-five hundredths percent (3.65%) of his salary for each year of service to be credited under this act plus interest, or an amount sufficient to cover the unfunded liability for retirement benefits under this section after the transfer under paragraph (ii) of this section, whichever is less.  Notwithstanding paragraph (i) of this subsection, a circuit court judge appointed before July 1, 1998, may elect to be covered under this act by providing notice to the board not later than December 31, 2003, or prior to retirement, whichever is earlier, and making any payment required under this paragraph.