23-2306. Retirement system; members; employees; elected officials; new employee; participation in another governmental plan; how treated; separate employment; effect.

(1) The membership of the retirement system shall be composed of all persons who are or were employed by member counties and who maintain an account balance with the retirement system.

(2) The following employees of member counties are authorized to participate in the retirement system: (a) All permanent full-time employees shall begin participation in the retirement system upon employment and full-time elected officials shall begin participation in the retirement system upon taking office, (b) all permanent part-time employees who have attained the age of eighteen years may exercise the option to begin participation in the retirement system within the first thirty days of employment, and (c) all part-time elected officials may exercise the option to begin participation in the retirement system within thirty days after taking office. An employee who exercises the option to begin participation in the retirement system shall remain in the system until termination or retirement, regardless of any change of status as a permanent or temporary employee.

(3) On and after July 1, 2010, no employee of a member county shall be authorized to participate in the retirement system provided for in the County Employees Retirement Act unless the employee (a) is a United States citizen or (b) is a qualified alien under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., as such act existed on January 1, 2009, and is lawfully present in the United States.

(4) On and after July 1, 2013, the board may determine that a governmental entity currently participating in the retirement system no longer qualifies under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code as a participating employer in a governmental plan. Upon such determination, affected plan members shall be considered fully vested. The board shall notify such entity within ten days after making a determination. Within ninety days after the board's notice to such entity, affected plan members shall become inactive. The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this subsection.

(5) Within the first one hundred eighty days of employment, a full-time employee may apply to the board for vesting credit for years of participation in another Nebraska governmental plan, as defined by section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. During the years of participation in the other Nebraska governmental plan, the employee must have been a full-time employee, as defined in the Nebraska governmental plan in which the credit was earned. The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing the assessment and granting of vesting credit.

(6) Any employee who qualifies for membership in the retirement system pursuant to this section may not be disqualified from membership in the retirement system solely because such employee also maintains separate employment which qualifies the employee for membership in another public retirement system, nor may membership in this retirement system disqualify such an employee from membership in another public retirement system solely by reason of separate employment which qualifies such employee for membership in this retirement system.

(7) A full-time or part-time employee of a city, village, or township who becomes a county employee pursuant to a merger of services shall receive vesting credit for his or her years of participation in a Nebraska governmental plan, as defined by section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, of the city, village, or township.

(8) A full-time or part-time employee of a city, village, fire protection district, or township who becomes a municipal county employee shall receive credit for his or her years of employment with the city, village, fire protection district, or township for purposes of the vesting provisions of this section.

(9) A full-time or part-time employee of the state who becomes a county employee pursuant to transfer of assessment function to a county shall not be deemed to have experienced a termination of employment and shall receive vesting credit for his or her years of participation in the State Employees Retirement System of the State of Nebraska.

(10) Counties shall ensure that employees authorized to participate in the retirement system pursuant to this section shall enroll and make required contributions to the retirement system immediately upon becoming an employee. Information necessary to determine membership in the retirement system shall be provided by the employer.

Source:Laws 1965, c. 94, § 6, p. 405; Laws 1975, LB 32, § 1; Laws 1984, LB 216, § 3; Laws 1985, LB 349, § 1; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 3; Laws 1995, LB 501, § 1; Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 2; Laws 1997, LB 250, § 5; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 2; Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 24; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 2; Laws 2001, LB 142, § 33; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 2; Laws 2002, LB 687, § 5; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 3; Laws 2006, LB 366, § 3; Laws 2008, LB1147, § 1; Laws 2009, LB188, § 1; Laws 2010, LB950, § 1; Laws 2011, LB509, § 4; Laws 2013, LB263, § 3; Laws 2015, LB261, § 3.

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