Please note that only a summary of each bill is provided.
 

The LEOFF Plan 2 Board recommended six bills to the 2008 Legislature and one was passed.

Board Endorsed Bills

ESSB 6573 Alternate Revenue – PASSED

LEOFF Plan 2 has two sources of revenue to fund plan benefits; contributions and investment earnings. Any benefit improvement must be paid for by an increase in contributions by plan members, employers, and the State. Other public safety retirement plans around the country have developed alternate revenue sources as a means of funding improved plan benefits without raising contribution rates.

This bill provides additional shared revenues to LEOFF Plan 2 and local jurisdictions.

When the general state revenues increase by more than five percent, an amount up to fifty million dollars biennially would be divided equally between LEOFF Plan 2 for future benefit improvements and local jurisdictions for public safety purposes.

*Amendments in the House phase-in the revenue stream between 2011 – 2017, provides the revenue on a biennial basis rather than annual, and requires a 5% increase in state revenues before the revenue stream is triggered.

STATUS:

ESSB 6573 was signed by the Governor on March 20, 2008.

HB 3049

SB 6635

Deferred Compensation as Salary

LEOFF Plan 2 members are commonly offered access to a deferred compensation plan by their employer. Bargaining agreements in many jurisdictions provide for the employer to make contributions to individual member accounts, either as a percentage of pay or as a match to member contributions. Employer contributions to a member’s deferred compensation account are treated inconsistently with respect to whether they are “basic salary” for purposes of calculating a member’s pension.

This bill modifies the definition of basic salary to include employer contributions to 457 deferred compensation plans. In order to avoid adversely affecting the intent of any current contracts, these changes would not take effect until July 1, 2012 to allow for existing contracts to expire and new contracts to be negotiated under the new definition of basic salary.

STATUS:

HB 3049 and SB 6635 did not pass.

HB 3007

SB 6646

Military Service Death Benefit

The state retirement systems do not make a distinction in the benefit calculation between members who died while no longer working for a public employer for any reason and members who died while fulfilling interruptive military service obligations. Survivors of plan members who died while on leave of absence to serve in the military have their pension benefits reduced as if the member went out on early retirement.

This bill developed jointly between the Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) and the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board eliminates the reduction for the survivor of a member who left the employ of a retirement system-covered employer due to service in the National Guard or military reserves, and who die while honorably serving in a defined period of war.

STATUS:

HB 3007 and SB 6646 did not pass.

HB 3008

SSB 6645

Interruptive Military Service Credit

Plan members who temporarily leave their position to serve in the military can receive lost service credit upon reemployment by paying the member contributions that they would have paid if they had remained in their position.

This bill developed by the SCPP eliminates the member obligation to pay for interruptive military service credit if the member served during a period of war. Employers will still be required to pay the employer contributions on the service. In the case of a military death, the survivor would also be relieved of paying the member cost for interruptive military service credit.

STATUS:

HB 3008 and SB 6645 did not pass.

HB 3026

SB 6664

$150,000 Death Benefit Inflation Adjustment

The $150,000 death benefit is provided to all public employees who die in the line of duty. Eligibility is determined by the Department of Labor and Industries. The benefit has not increased since it was created in 1996.

This bill indexes the amount of the death benefit to cumulative changes in the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, with a maximum increase of 3% per year.

STATUS:

HB 3026 and SB 6664 did not pass.

HB 3023

SB 6653

Fish and Wildlife Service Credit Transfer

Enforcement Officers with the State Department of Fish & Wildlife became members of LEOFF Plan 2 in 2003. Enforcement Officers were previously members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Enforcement Officers were not provided with an option in 2003 to transfer any past PERS service to LEOFF Plan 2. All other groups of employees whose membership was changed from PERS to LEOFF Plan 2 in the past, such as port police and fire fighters, higher education police and fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians were provided with an option to transfer their past LEOFF Plan 2 eligible service from PERS to LEOFF Plan 2.

This bill, developed cooperatively with the Select Committee on Pension Policy, would provide Enforcement Officers at the State Department of Fish & Wildlife with the opportunity to transfer their past service as Enforcement Officers from PERS Plan 2 to LEOFF Plan 2. Transferring members would pay the difference between the contribution rate they paid in PERS Plan 2 and the contribution rate they would have paid in LEOFF Plan 2, plus interest.

STATUS:

HB 3023 and SB 6653 did not pass.

Other Bills of Interest

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HB 1545 Survivor L&I Benefits

Surviving spouses of LEOFF Plan 2 members who are killed in the line of duty are entitled to receive a monthly benefit of at least 60% of member’s wages.  This benefit is paid for the lifetime of the survivor, or until remarriage.

This bill removes the remarriage restriction for survivors of LEOFF Plan 2 members. For remarriages that occur after the effective date of the bill, the survivor benefits will continue for life.

STATUS:

HB 1545 did not pass.

HB 2510 Medicare Only Health Insurance Benefits – PASSED

Coverage obtained through a divided referendum process shall extend coverageto law enforcement officers, firefighters, and employees of political subdivisions of this state, who have membership in a qualified retirement system, allowing them to obtain medicare coverage only (HI-only). In such a divided referendum process, those members voting in favor of medicare coverage constitute a separate coverage group.

STATUS:

HB 2510 was signed by the Governor on March 25, 2008.

HB 2134 Port Fire Fighter Membership in LEOFF

This bill ensures LEOFF membership to any person who is a full-time employee of a port district, whose duties include the suppression of fires, who is trained in rescue and fire fighting duties prior to assuming fire suppression responsibilities, and who is required to receive annually recurring instruction in rescue and fire fighting skills that includes live-fire drills; and Supervisory fire fighter personnel of a port district who are trained in rescue and fire fighting duties, but are not required to receive annually recurrent instruction in rescue and fire fighting skills.

STATUS:

HB 2134 did not pass.

HB 3331 Occupational Disease Presumption for MRSA

The prima facie presumption established under RCW 51.32.185 that certain infectious diseases are occupational diseases is extended to cover any fire fighter who has contracted methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

STATUS:

HB 3331 did not pass.