Legislation 2023

The 2023 Legislative Session commenced on Monday, January 9 and will conclude on Wednesday, April 12. Information regarding Legislation having an impact on LEOFF Plan 2 is posted as it becomes available.

For general legislative information, bills not listed on this site, please visit the Washington State Legislature.

Board Endorsed Bills

No Cost Military (SHB 1007 | SB 5296)

SHB 1007 | SB 5296

Expands no-cost interruptive military service credit to include service where a member earns an expeditionary medal. Currently, no-cost interruptive military service credit is limited to interruptive service where the member earns a campaign badge or medal.

Amended in the House Committee of Appropriations to clarify that this benefit applies retroactively to members who have already retired.

Status SHB 1007
Passed out of the House on February 1. 1st substitute bill substituted (APP 23). (View 1st Substitute) 

Status SB 5296
Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 4:00 PM on February 7. (Subject to change). (Committee Materials)

Bills Impacting LEOFF 2

Ensuring Promoted Fire Fighters Remain in LEOFF 2 (HB 1279 | SB 5468)

HB 1279 | SB 5468

Ensuring that firefighters who accept promotional firefighter positions within a fire department remain members of the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system.

Clarifies the definition of Fire Fighter for purposes of membership in LEOFF 2 to include full-time, fully-compensated positions within a fire department that require an experienced fire fighter. This bill ensures that fire fighters who accept promotional positions within a fire department, such as fire fighter trainers, some management positions, and fire marshals, remain in LEOFF 2 instead of being moved into the Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Status 5468
Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 4:00 PM on January 31 (Subject to change). (Committee Materials)

Concerning Flexible Work for General and Limited Authority Washington Peace Officers (HB 1413 | SSB 5424)

HB 1413 | SSB 5424

This bill allows for part-time general authority law enforcement officers and part-time limited authority law enforcement officers. Current law requires general authority and limited authority officers to be full-time. This bill allows part-time general authority officers to participate in LEOFF Plan 2. Currently, LEOFF Plan 2 requires law enforcement officers and fire fighters to be full-time.

Status HB 1413
Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry at 8:00 AM on February 9 (Subject to change). (Committee Materials)

Status SSB 5424
Passed through Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce on January 31 (View 1st Substitute) . Referred to Ways and Means.

Allowing Tribal Law Enforcement Officers to Join LEOFF 2 (HB 1481)

HB 1481 

This bill would allow tribes to enter into compacts with Washington State so that tribal law enforcement officers can participate in LEOFF 2. The compact agreement must include a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for purposes of administering the retirement plan. The tribal police department must be operated solely as a governmental entity, as required by federal laws.

In addition to the tribe entering into a compact with Washington State, the tribal law enforcement officers must be full time, fully compensated, certified as general authority, and employed by the tribal police department to be eligible for LEOFF 2. The LEOFF 2 contributions will be split equally between the tribes and the tribal law enforcement officers, with no contributions made by the state. Tribal law enforcement officers who join LEOFF 2 will have the option to purchase service credit in LEOFF 2 for past service with the tribal police department. The member must pay the full actuarial value for that service credit.

For more information about tribal law enforcement officers’ eligibility for membership in LEOFF 2 please see the 2020 LEOFF 2 Board Study.

Status 1481
Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Appropriations at 4:00 PM on February 2. (Subject to change). (Committee Materials)

Creating an Ombudsman at DRS (SB 5625)

SB 5625

This bill creates an ombudsman position at DRS to advocate for the rights of members and retirees of DRS administered pension plans, including LEOFF Plan 2, and retiree health care. The ombudsman provides information, investigates complaints from retirees of department administered retirement systems and health care, and facilitates resolution to ensure that retirees receive the benefits they have earned.

In addition to creating an ombudsman at DRS, this bill resolves a number of issues that DRS has identified as requiring legislation:

  • “In the course of employment” has the same meaning as “in the line of duty” for purposes of qualifying for a LEOFF 2 disability benefit. DRS must review past duty disability denials and determine if the disability was incurred “in the line of duty”. Also, an occupational assessment must be conducted either by LNI or DRS before denying a member’s duty disability application based on the member being capable of employment. 
  • DRS administrative fees and employer charges for the unfunded liability in a plan should not be included in employer contribution calculation charged to members to purchase service credit.
  • The appeal deadline for DRS administrative decisions must be no less than 90 days. If DRS requests additional information from a member their time to file an appeal must be tolled at least 90 days. Also, allows members who had their decision dismissed by DRS for failing to meet the appeal deadline to refile their claim with DRS.
  • Allows members to change their survivor option election if they requested to after the passage of the survivor option reelection window legislation (SB 6417 (2020)) but prior to DRS receiving approval from the IRS that the legislation did not violate federal law.
  • Basic salary includes holiday payments, as well as all sick leave and vacation leave used by the member. Currently, these types of pay may not be considered basic salary by DRS in certain situations (see DRS Employer Notice 22-012, and DRS Employer Notice 17-007).

Status 5625
Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 4:00 PM on February 7. (Subject to change). (Committee Materials)

2023-2025 Operating Budget (HB 1140 | SB 5187)

HB 1140 | SB 5187

  • The Governor’s budget fully funds LEOFF plan 2. Appropriations reflect pension rates adopted by the Board.