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The LEOFF I Coalition has just issued a newsletter.  It is not yet available on their website but evidently they have mailed it to many folks.  They should be complemented on this publication as it is one of their better ones in that it includes some real information about what went on in the last session of the legislature.  Nothing new for followers of LEOFF1.Net but useful for those out of contact with the ongoing legislative actions.

Survivor Benefits

A new law (ESB 5873) effective June 9, 2016, gives Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Plan 1 retirees an opportunity to provide survivor benefits to their post-retirement spouse or registered domestic partner. If a spouse or registered domestic partner is added, a retiree’s monthly benefit will be reduced to pay for the benefit. The open window for making this change is June 9, 2016 to Sept. 1, 2016.

LEOFF 1 Post Retirement Spouse

Urgent Issue – If you married after retirement and did not add your spouse to your pension, read the following:

In early April, Governor Inslee signed SHB 5873 into law. It reopens the window to sign up post-retirement spouses of those LEOFF I retirees (LEOFF II retirees already have this enabling legislation) that missed their original two year window between September 7, 2013 and September 1, 2015. The sign up process is expected to be in place 60 – 90 days after the signing-in law. If you missed the original two year window, call DRS (800-547-6657 or 360-664-7000 now and request to talk with a LEOFF analyst. The staff there will take your name and contact you when the process is functioning to enroll your post-retirement spouse as a lawful beneficiary. There will be an actuarial reduction to your pension in order to sign up your spouse as a surviving lawful beneficiary. You must work with DRS – Call them. Remember, this is very specific legislation. It is not a general opening for all post-retirement spouses, so call and see if you qualify.             

LEOFF 1 / TRS 1 Merger Study

During the 2016 legislative interim, the28select committee on pension policy shall study Senate Bill No. 6668 (LEOFF 1 & TRS 1 merger) and report on the tax, legal, fiscal, policy, and administrative implications. In conducting the study, the select committee on pension policy shall also update its 2011 study of law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system plans 1 and 2. In preparing this study, the department of retirement systems, the attorney general's office, the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system plan 2 board, and the office of the state actuary shall provide the select committee on pension policy with any information or assistance the committee requests. The committee shall also receive stakeholder input on the bill as part of its deliberation. The select committee on pension policy shall submit this report to the legislature by January 9, 2017.

The RFFOW, the RSPOA and several other groups are seeking an opportunity to provide stakeholder input to the study.
This report was generated by WACOPS:  The 2016 legislative session ended on Tuesday, March 29th. The supplemental budget was passed out of both houses and is still awaiting the Governor's signature. A number of our priority bills have passed and are still awaiting the Governor's signature. An updated bill report can be found  here.

LEOFF 1 Merger: The LEOFF 1 merger with TRS 1 was not in the final budget. However, there was a related bill passed, SB 6668, that requires a study of the merger issue by the Select Committee on Pension Policy during the interim. The report will be submitted to the Legislature by 1/9/2017.
I want to thank all of you who rallied against SB 6668, the LEOFF I/Teachers Plan I (TRS) retirement systems merger. Many of you attended the hearing and let the Senate Ways and Means Committee members know that you were opposed to the bill. With such a short notice, about twenty hours before the scheduled hearing, it was almost impossible for many of you to attend. If there had been more notice the room would have been full with members standing in the halls. Those of you who testified let them know loud and clear what you thought of the bill, the short notice and the sneak attack to terminate the LEOFF I Retirement System. I believe the legislators had eggs on their faces when they were reminded that this issue was not sent to the legislature’s own committee, the Select Committee on Pension Policy for review, classification and consideration. The Senate Ways and Means Committee members were well advised that this issue will be fought viciously in the halls of the legislature and in the courts.
On Wednesday, March 23rd I attended the LEOFF 2 Board meeting.  The principal reason for going was the fact that a discussion of proposed merger of LEOFF 1 and TRS 1 (SB 6668) was on the agenda.  It turned out, this was more of a housekeeping item that one set for serious discussion, so the presentation was minimal and offered no new facts.

As it stands at this point it appears that the Select Committee on Pension Policy will be asked to produce a study of the issue in the interim between legislative sessions. Whether or not that will actually happen or what form such a study might take is not yet known.  If it is to happen it should show up in whatever budget bill that passes.

2016 COLAS - Official from DRS

DRS has just released the official COLA data for 2016.

COLAs for LEOFF Plan 1
                     — EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2016 —
 
Retirement Dates Adjustments  
April 2, 2015 – March 31, 2016 0.00%  
January 1, 2015 – April 1, 2015 0.91%  
April 2, 2014 – December 31, 2014 2.86%  
Prior to April 2, 2014 0.91%  
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