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
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
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 LEOFF 1 good news is that it, as of the first week there are no proposals that amount to an attack on LEOFF 1. Some of the LEOFF 2 related bills are being heard next week, HB 1194 and SB5346. This legislation allows the surviving spouse of a LEOFF Plan 2 member killed in the course of employment to remarry and continue receiving workers' compensation program. This bill is seen as positive developments for LEOFF 2.
Tucked into the federal spending bill President Obama signed last week was a provision that allows “multiemployer” pension plans to cut retirees’ pension checks to avoid running out of money. But some worry that may eventually lead to similar rules for other pension plans.
See the Seattle Times article.