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SB 5783 Passes the Senate

SB 5873 passed the Senate and now moves to the House.  It would be helpful if as many folks as possible could contact their representatives and urge passage of this bill.  The bill passed the Senate 49 - 0.

SB 5873 – Creates another opportunity for LEOFF 1 retirees to designate a spouse as a survivor beneficiary. If enacted, this bill would create a one-time window for LEOFF 1 retirees who did not previously designate a post-retirement spouse as a survivor beneficiary, another opportunity to do so.
We have now reached the halfway point in the 2015 Legislative Session. The session was called to order on January 12, 2015. Because this is a longer session it will continue for 105 days ending on April 26, 2015. If you remember, prior to 2005, RCW 41.26, the LEOFF I Retirement System required the members to be married one year before retirement to be eligible to select a survivor benefit for a spouse.

2015 COLA

The COLA for April 1 will be 1.93%.  This number is based on the direct calculation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  The official notification of the COLA has not yet been released.  Please go to the full article to view the calculation.

2015 COLA

The COLA for April 1 will be 1.93%.  This number is based on the direct calculation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  The official notification of the COLA has not yet been released.  Please go to the full article to view the calculation.

Survivor Benefit Extension - UPDATE

A bill dealing with survivor benefits was just dropped in the Senate. This bill is sponsored by Senators Conway, Bailey, Schoesler, Kohl-Welles and had its first reading on Feb 6. It was referred to Ways & Means. As yet I see no companion House bill.

On Feb. 27 the bill was passed out of Ways & Means with a do pass recommendation.  It is now in the Rules Committee.  So, it is a good time to write or email your Senators to get this bill to the floor.

SB 5873 – Creates another opportunity for LEOFF 1 retirees to designate a spouse as a survivor beneficiary. If enacted, this bill would create a one-time window for LEOFF 1 retirees who did not previously designate a post-retirement spouse as a survivor beneficiary, another opportunity to do so.

To qualify, the member must have been married to that spouse for at least two years prior to September 1, 2015. 

The Washington Legislature - 64th Session - Week Four

Week 4 of the current legislative session has come to an end.  There is no news to report in reference to LEOFF 1 issues.  Thankfully we are still off the radar.

LEOFF 2 does have some action:                                                                                             

The primary goal is to maintain the pension contribution rates adopted by the LEOFF 2 Board and uphold the authority of the LEOFF 2 board to set actuarial assumptions and contribution rates for the plan.  A second goal is get the legislature to renew its commitment to the The Local Government Public Safety Enhancement Account that was established in 2009 to provide revenue to the LEOFF pension system and local government public safety.

These are items that will be included in the budget. Both are currently included in the Governor's proposed budget: HB 1106 and  SB 5077

The Legislature is finishing its third week of the session. New bills are still being introduced and committees are meeting regularly. Policy legislation must pass out of committee prior to February 20th.

At this point there appears to be no legislation pending that impacts the LEOFF 1 Pension system.  The only LEOFF pension bill now active is a proposal to extend survivor benefits to LEOFF 2 spouses.
The WSCFF has an ambitious agenda for the 2015 session. Their primary objective continues to be pension funding. They will also be working to: ensure the legislature adopts contribution rates set by the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board and makes required contributions to the Local Public Safety Enhancement Account (Alternate Revenue); advocate for improvements to local government funding mechanisms and the workers’ compensation program; make necessary legislative changes to permit innovative healthcare programs to be operated by fire departments; eliminate toxic flame retardants; and increase oil train safety. 
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