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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 52

    Document Title
    The Revision of Title 51 of the Code of Virginia

    Virginia Code Commission

    Enabling Authority
    HJR 309 (Regular Session, 1989)

    Executive Summary
    House Joint Resolution No. 309 of the 1989 Acts of Assembly directed the Virginia Code Commission to study Title 51 of the Code of Virginia and report its findings in the form of a recodification of the title to the Governor and the General Assembly. Reasons given for the recodification were that Title 51, which consists of the pension and retirement laws of the Commonwealth, has had many changes since the publication of the Code of 1950 and the statutory provisions need to be organized in a clearer and more logical style. In addition, major statutory changes are necessary to bring portions of the Virginia Supplemental Retirement Act into conformance with the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

    In accordance with the mandate, the study has been completed. The result is a recodification of Title 51 into a new Title 51.1, comprised of nine chapters. The name of the title was changed from "Pensions and Retirement" to "Pensions, Benefits, and Retirement" because provisions relating to group insurance and deferred compensation have been added to the title since it was originally named. Provisions concerning group insurance and the Government Employees Deferred Compensation Plan Act were taken out of the chapter on the Virginia Supplemental Retirement Act and made into separate chapters because of their distinct subject matter.

    In order to comply with the Tax Reform Act of 1986 the basic benefit formula of the retirement system was changed. In addition, differences in treatment for persons becoming members on or before March 31, 1980, and persons becoming members after March 31, 1980, were eliminated. The name of the retirement system was changed from the "Virginia Supplemental Retirement System" to the "Virginia Retirement System" because the retirement system is no longer designed to supplement social security benefits. The benefit structure was also changed in the State Police Officers' Retirement System and the Judicial Retirement System.

    Most of current Chapter 3, entitled "Provisions Coordinating Past and Present Security and Retirement Plans" was repealed because many of its provisions dealt with the transfer of funds from the abolished system to the Virginia Supplemental Retirement System or with obtaining retroactive social security coverage. The chapter was renumbered 4 and renamed "Provisions Coordinating Past and Present Retirement Plans" and a new section was added to ensure the retention of rights to benefits for members and former members of all of the retirement systems.

    The Commission has rewritten and combined sections or parts of sections to clarify provisions and to eliminate archaic or redundant language and obsolete provisions. Sections that applied to a limited class of people were repealed if they were no longer necessary, moved to proposed Chapter 4, or made into an uncodified act. Numerous sections have been repealed because they are obsolete. References to legislative policy and purpose were deleted or rewritten as specific duties. There is a chapter drafting note at the start of each chapter that explains the changes made in that chapter. Section drafting notes follow each section in proposed Title 51.1 and explain the changes made in that section.
    The outline of proposed Title 51.1 and the proposed revision of Title 51 follow this text as Appendix I. Appendix II contains tables that cross-reference the sections of Title 51 with equivalent sections in proposed Title 51.1 and vice versa. Appendix III lists additional sections in the Code of Virginia which must be amended, added, or repealed due to the recodification.