Please note that only a summary of each bill is provided.
Board Endorsed Bills
Catastrophic Disability Benefit - Passed
LEOFF Plan 2 members sometimes suffer catastrophically disabling job-related injuries that leave them unable to perform any substantial employment for the rest of their lives. For members with little LEOFF service, a catastrophic disability may leave them with insufficient income even if they qualify for other state or federal disability benefits.
Currently, disabled members are entitled to receive a minimum retirement allowance equal to 10% of such member's final average salary from LEOFF Plan 2. Disabled LEOFF Plan 2 members may also receive benefits from state Worker's compensation Insurance and some could be eligible for federal Social Security disability benefits.
This bill impacts LEOFF Plan 2 by providing that a member who is severely disabled in the line-of-duty such that they are incapable of substantial gainful employment in any capacity in the future would be guaranteed to receive 70% of their salary tax-free for life from LEOFF Plan 2 or up to 100% of salary when combined with Worker's Compensation and/or federal Social Security disability benefits for the same injury. Substantial gainful activity is defined as average earnings of no more than $860 per month in 2006, which shall be adjusted annually for inflation.
The Office of the State Actuary estimates this proposal will increase the LEOFF Plan 2 contribution rate by 0.02% for members, 0.01% for local government employers and 0.01% for the State.
STATUS: HB 2932 passed and was signed by the Governor March 14, effective March 14, 2006, Chapter 39, Laws of 2006.
Survivor Health Care Insurance - Passed
The families of LEOFF Plan 2 members who are killed in the line of duty are sometimes left without health insurance from their local government employers. The surviving spouses of LEOFF Plan 2 members who were killed in the line of duty since January 1998 have the option to purchase health insurance for themselves and any dependent children from the State. The surviving spouse pays the full cost of the insurance. The cost of insurance may be more than the surviving spouse's LEOFF Plan 2 benefit.
Surviving spouses of LEOFF Plan 2 members who are killed in the line of duty are entitled to receive a refund of the member's contributions plus interest. If the member had at least ten years of service at the time of their death, the member's surviving spouse may choose to receive a refund of 150% of the member's contributions plus interest or a retirement benefit from LEOFF Plan 2 based on the member's service and final average salary with an actuarial reduction based on the difference in age between the member and their spouse.
This bill impacts LEOFF Plan 2 by extending the option to purchase health insurance from the state to the surviving spouses of members who were killed in the line of duty prior to 1998. The LEOFF Plan 2 retirement fund will reimburse the survivors of all LEOFF Plan 2 line of duty deaths for the cost of purchasing health insurance from the State.
The Office of the State Actuary estimates this proposal will increase the LEOFF Plan 2 contribution rate by 0.03% for members, 0.02% for local government employers and 0.01% for the State.
STATUS: SB 6723 passed and was signed by the Governor on March 30, effective June 7, 2006, Chapter 345, Laws of 2006.
150,000 Death Benefit - Passed
LEOFF Plan 2 members who die from a duty-related illness do not qualify for the $150,000 death benefit that is provided to members who die from duty-related injuries. The $150,000 death benefit has not increased since it was created in 1996.
This bill impacts LEOFF Plan 2 by extending coverage for the $150,000 death benefit to members who die from a duty-related illness such as an infectious disease or cancer which results from a job-related exposure.
The bill as originally introduced provided that the amount of the benefit would have included future annual increases to take into account inflation. However, the bill was amended in the House Appropriations Committee to remove the annual inflation increase.
The Office of the State Actuary estimates this proposal will increase the LEOFF Plan 2 contribution rate by 0.01% for members and 0.01% for local government employers. There will be no increase to the State contribution rate.
STATUS: SHB 2933 passed and was signed by the Governor on March 30, effective June 7, 2006, Chapter 351, Laws of 2006.
Fish & 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 firefighters, higher education police and firefighters, and emergency medical technicians were provided with an option to transfer their past service from PERS to LEOFF Plan 2.
This bill would impact LEOFF Plan 2 by providing 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. The member would pay the difference between the contribution rate that they paid in PERS Plan 2 and the contribution rate that they would have paid in LEOFF Plan 2 plus interest.