§ 16-2-9.5. Other post-employment benefits OPEB trusts.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law, or the provisions of any municipality's home rule charter, to the contrary, for purposes of funding any unfunded liability for other post-employment benefits including, but not limited to, health care and dental care benefits hereinafter referred to as ("OPEB") in accordance with government accounting standards board statements 43 and 45, a school district, acting by its business manager or superintendent, upon an approving resolution of the school committee or school board as applicable, may enter into a trust agreement between the school district and a corporate trustee which shall be a bank or trust company doing business in the state, or a corporation established pursuant to chapter 5 of title 45. This trust agreement shall be in any form deemed proper by the business manager or superintendent, and shall be executed by its business manager or superintendent and countersigned by the chair of the school committee of the school district. It shall be lawful for any bank, trust company, or entity organized pursuant to § 45-5-20.1 doing business in the state to act as a depository or trustee under this trust agreement, and to furnish indemnification and pledge securities that may be required by any school district.
(b) OPEB trust funds shall be credited with all amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by the school district for the purposes of meeting the current and future OPEB costs payable by the school district. OPEB trust funds shall also be credited with all amounts contributed or otherwise made available by employees of the school district for the purpose of meeting future OPEB costs payable by the school district. Amounts in an OPEB trust fund, including any earnings or interest accruing from the investment of these amounts, shall be expended only for the payment of the costs payable by the school district for OPEB or as otherwise permitted by the terms of the trust and applicable law. The business manager or superintendent, as applicable, shall invest or reinvest the amounts in the OPEB trust fund in any investment permitted for the state pension funds consistent with the investment policies of the state general treasurer's office.
(c) School districts are hereby authorized to enter into agreements, trusts, contracts, and other arrangements with the state and any of its departments, agencies, boards or commissions relating to the execution, management or operation of the OPEB trust funds, including, but not limited to, investments, and the state and its department, agencies, boards and commissions are hereby authorized to enter into such agreements, contracts and other arrangements with school districts. Notwithstanding any provisions of any general or special law or principle of equity to the contrary, the state shall have no liability to any school district for entering into such agreements.
(d) A school district may employ any qualified bank, trust company, corporation, firm or person to advise it on the investment of the OPEB trust fund and may pay from the OPEB trust fund for this advice and other services. Procurement for these services shall be subject to the procurement procedures and rules governing school districts and municipalities in the state.
(e) School districts are also hereby authorized to enter into agreements, trusts, contracts, and other arrangements with any corporation created pursuant to chapter 5 of title 45 relating to the execution, management or operation of the OPEB trust funds, including, but not limited to, investments, and the corporations established pursuant to § 45-5-20.1 are hereby authorized to enter into such agreements, contracts and other arrangements with school districts.
(f) Nothing contained herein will prevent any school district from entering into agreements with other school districts per § 16-2-9.2 for the purposes of jointly pooling their investments or collectively entering into an agreement with a corporate trustee, as defined in subsection (a) of this section.
(g) Nothing herein shall be construed to exempt OPEB trusts from the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act, § 38-2-1 et seq.
(P.L. 2008, ch. 92, § 2; P.L. 2008, ch. 134, § 2; P.L. 2012, ch. 443, § 1.)