The 2019 Legislative Session is scheduled to run January 14 through April 28. A summary of each bill impacting LEOFF 2 will appear below as information becomes available. Links provide detail.

LEOFF 2 Board Bills

LEOFF/PERS Eligibility Gap (HB 1297 | SSB 5355)

HB 1297 |  SSB 5355 Recovering service credit withdrawn from the public employees’ retirement system for certain law enforcement officers and firefighters.

Both bills allow law enforcement officers and fire fighters to receive a LEOFF 2 pension if they:

  • were not eligible for LEOFF 1 due to not meeting minimum medical and health standards;
  • were enrolled into PERS after a 1994 law clarified membership eligibility, and;
  • separated from employment and withdrew from PERS membership prior to paying back their past contributions owed; and there is no record of DRS giving the member an option to receive a pension with a reduction to pay back remaining contributions owed.

Qualifying individuals would be required to pay all member contributions owed, without interest, by taking an actuarial reduction to their ongoing benefit or by making a lump sum payment. The option to recover service credit would be available until July 1, 2020.

HB 1297 Status:

  • No action at this time.

SSB 5355 Status:

  • Substitute Senate bill clarifies that the benefit under this bill is prospective from the month the application is received.
  • Signed by the Governor. [view bill as passed]

Spousal Consent Requirement (HB 1408 | SB 5661)

HB 1408 | SB 5661 Clarifying the written consent requirement for survivorship benefit options.

Requires written consent from a member’s spouse where a member selects a survivor benefit of less than the 50 percent option or names someone other than their spouse as their beneficiary. Current law requires written consent for all survivor option other than the 50 percent option.

HB 1408 Status:

  • Passed by the Legislature and delivered to the Governor.

SB 5661 Status:

  • Passed by Senate Ways and Means and currently in Senate Rules “X” file.

Month of Death Payment (HB 1414 | SB 5335)

HB 1414 | SB 5335 Paying retirement benefits until the end of the month in which the retiree or beneficiary dies.

Both bills provide a retiree’s beneficiary or estate a full month’s benefit for the month a retiree or survivor passes away. Currently, in the month a retiree passes away the last month benefit payment is prorated based on the number of days the person was alive in the month.

Status:

  • No action at this time on either bill.

Bills Impacting LEOFF 2

Confidentiality of Insurance Claim Records (HB 1909 | SSB 5844)

SHB 1909 | SSB 5844 Concerning the Confidentiality of Insurance Claim Records

  • Adds “agents who have a need to know the information contained in the claim files of an injured worker” to authorized reviewers
  • Adds the requirement for employers to establish a written policy regarding the storage of any files of its own injured workers to protect the confidentiality of the information
  • Adds a $1000 penalty to employers and their agents for revealing information in a claim file to any person other than the authorized representative or a person who has a need to know

SHB 1909 Status:

  • Passed by the Legislature and delivered to the Governor.
  • Bill Substitute:
    • limits the revealed information subject to penalty to mental health condition or treatment information rather than all information;
    • removes the requirement for employers to have a written policy regarding file storage;
    • adds the requirement that the Department ensure workers and employers are notified of their rights and responsibilities; and,
    • deletes references to employer agents with a need to know.

SSB 5844 Status:

  • Substituted and passed by Senate Committee on Labor and Commerce Standards and currently in Senate “X” file.
    • Bill Substitute:
      • removes requirement for an employer to establish a policy regarding storage of injured workers’ files.
      • requires L&I to ensure employers and workers are notified upon the allowance of a claim of their rights and responsibilities under this act.
      • removes references to employer’s agents and changes them to duly authorized representatives.
      • limits penalties to revealing information in a claim file regarding a mental health condition or treatment.

Presumption of Occupational Disease for Purposes of Workers' Compensation (HB 1913 | SB 5849)

HB 1913 | SB 5849 Concerning the presumption of occupational disease for purposes of workers’ compensation by adding medical conditions to the presumption, extending the presumption to certain publicly employed firefighters and investigators and law enforcement, addressing the qualifying medical examination, and creating an advisory committee.

  • Expands presumptive disease coverage for fire fighters to include mesothelioma, stomach cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer in women, and cervical cancer.
  • Expands coverage to law enforcement officers for heart problems and infectious diseases.
  • Grants public employee fire investigators the same presumption disease coverage that is granted to fire fighters.
  • Instructs the director of Labor and Industries to create an advisory committee on occupational disease presumptions to review scientific evidence and to make recommendations to the legislature on additional diseases or disorders for inclusion.

HB 1913 Status:

  • Passed by the Senate and awaiting signatures.

SB 5849 Status:

  • No action at this time.

Concerning Additional Contribution Rates (HB 2127)

HB 2127 Concerning additional contribution rates for contributions made after the date the service is rendered for individual employers of Washington state retirement systems.

  • If an employer is responsible for late pension payments that result in an unfunded liability that is expected to either exceed one hundred thousand dollars or cause an increase to employer or employee contribution rates, the employer may be assessed a separate employer contribution rate to compensate for the unfunded liability.

Status: No action at this time.

Funding the LEOFF 2 Benefit Improvement Account (HB 2144)

HB 2144

  • Makes a one-time transfer of $300 million from the LEOFF 2 retirement fund to the LEOFF 2 Benefit Improvement Account. Repeals any further state obligation to fund the LEOFF 2 Benefit Improvement Account.

HB 2144 Status

  • Scheduled for a public hearing and executive session in Senate Ways and Means April 18 at 9:00 am.

Concerning the Law Enforcement Officers' and Firefighters' Plan 2 Pension System (SB 5983)

SB 5983 Concerning Funding of Law Enforcement Officers’ and Firefighters’ Plan 2 Benefit Improvements.

  • Makes a one-time transfer of $300 million from the LEOFF 2 retirement fund to the LEOFF 2 Benefit Improvement Account. Repeals any further state obligation to fund the LEOFF 2 Benefit Improvement Account.

SB 5983 Status

  • No action taken at Senate Ways and Means executive session April 3.

2017-19 Supplemental Appropriations Budget (HB 1108 | SB 5154)

HB 1108SB 5154

At this time both bills are identical. No notable information for LEOFF 2 in the supplemental.

2019-21 Operating Appropriations Budget (HB 1109 | SB 5153)

HB 1109 | SB 5153

At this time both bills are identical.

  • No change to proposed LEOFF 2 contribution rate.
  • $25 million is appropriated for the Benefit Improvement Account.