General

Legislation

The 63rd Legislature is convened for Regular Session from January 13 - March 13, 2014. Below is a list of current pension-related bills for 2014. For more information on proposed bills, visit the Washington State Legislature’s website.

Pension-Related Bills for the 2014 Session

Last updated 04-18-2014

Click on the bill number for more detailed information about the legislation. Please note that legislative proposals do not become law until they are passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed by the governor. Bills signed by the governor are indicated by an asterisk (*).

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Click on the bill number for more detailed information about the legislation

* Passed by the Legislature and Signed by the Governor during 2014 Session

House Bill Number Senate Bill Number Title
*HB 2456

Correcting the Expiration Date of the Definition of Fire Fighter
This bill would eliminate the expiration date on the statutory provision in the LEOFF definition of fire fighter that includes emergency medical technicians (EMTs). This correction would allow EMTs continued eligibility for membership in LEOFF.

*SB 6201

Creating an Optional Life Annuity Benefit for LEOFF Plan 2 Members
This bill would allow LEOFF Plan 2 members to use funds from certain tax-qualified plans to purchase a life annuity from the LEOFF Plan 2 trust fund at the time of retirement.

*SB 6321

Removing Annual Rate Flexibility in the Plans 3
Currently, a TRS Plan 3 member has the option to change his or her contribution rate each year during the month of January. This bill would amend RCW 41.34.040 to remove this annual option, effective after January of 2015. While this statutory option applies to Plan 3 members of PERS and SERS as well, it has never been implemented in those plans. This modification is deemed necessary by the Internal Revenue Service in order to ensure the Plans 3 retain favorable tax qualification.

*SB 6328

Adding the Option to Purchase Individual Securities in a Public Deferred Compensation Program
This bill would allow the state or other local government authorizing entities the option of allowing employees participating in the employer sponsored deferred compensation plan to purchase individual securities within the plan investment options. It does not require plans to make this option available, it only allows it.

Click on the bill number for more detailed information about the legislation

Bills not passed during 2014 Session

House Bill Number Senate Bill Number Title
SHB 1820

Extending Furlough Protection of AFC for 2013-2015 Biennium
This bill would extend the modifications to salary averaging periods for retirees in the DRS administered system to include forgone salary due to employer approved budget reduction strategies, such as furloughs and salary decreases. Any retirees affected by furloughs in this biennium will have their benefits recalculated. Additionally, any employer who has approved such a strategy will be required to pay an amount equal to the employer and employee contributions on the foregone salary during the biennium. This bill was amended to require employers with approved salary reduction plans to pay an amount equal to the employee and employer contributions on all the foregone salary under the plan.

SHB 2018

Regarding Additional Employer Contribution Rates
This bill would require the Pension Funding Council to assess an additional employer specific contribution rate sufficient to pay for lost investment earnings and interest when retirement contributions are made after the service was provided by the employees. This additional rate would only be assessed if the resulting liabilities from the late reporting would require additional contribution rates to be charged to all members and employers if not paid for by the late reporting employer.

HB 2290

Limiting PERS Eligibility for Certain Employees of Small Cities
This bill would remove eligibility for membership in PERS for persons who work less than nine months per year for cities with less than 30,000 residents.

HB 2394 SB 6130

Liquor Control Enforcement Officers as General Authority Enforcement Officers
This bill would make the Liquor Control Board a general authority enforcement agency, and make Peace or Enforcement Officers of the LCB general authority enforcement officers. However, the bill explicitly provides that these changes would not provide prospective membership into LEOFF Plan 2 for these officers.

HB 2407

Correcting PERS Retiree Return to Work Restrictions
ESHB 1981 of the 2011 session modified the return to work rules for PERS retirees. This bill would correct some unintended consequences of those statute changes to ensure that:

  • PERS retirees who return to work in ineligible positions would not be subject to the 867 hour limitation.
  • PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3 retirees who return to work in eligible positions covered by other DRS administered systems would be eligible to work up to 867 hours before their benefit is suspended.
HB 2474 SB 6294

Creating the “Save Toward a Retirement Today” (STaRT) Savings Plan
This bill would require the Department to implement a retirement savings plan option for employees of eligible private businesses.

HB 2479 SB 6397

Placing Restrictions on LEOFF Retirees in Certain Public Positions
This bill would restrict the ability of a LEOFF Plan 2 retiree from continuing to receive their pension while employed in a position that performs primarily LEOFF duties but is not LEOFF eligible. An example of this type of position would be a less than full-time police officer or fire fighter.

HB 2485

Addressing PERS Survivor Benefits for Deceased Domestic Partners
This bill would provide survivor benefits to the spouses of deceased members who were registered domestic partners, later married, but the member died prior to being eligible to add the spouse as a survivor.

HB 2735

Reducing the Retirement Age for Time in the Uniformed Services
This bill would reduce the normal retirement age from age 65 in PERS Plan 2 and Plan 3 by up to two years for time served in the uniformed services. This potential two year reduction would apply to normal, early, and alternate early retirement calculations

HB 2736

Employer Participation in the State Deferred Compensation Program
This bill would require all public employers that employ members of a DRS administered retirement system to allow their employees to participate in the State administered Deferred Compensation Program.

SB 5392

Limiting the Impact of Excess Compensation on Retirement Contribution Rates
This bill would charge the employer the actuarial cost of the increase to a retirement pension when the total salary in the salary averaging period used to calculate the benefit is 1-1/2 times greater than the salary in the previous salary period of equal length. The employer is charged when the salary increase is due to the use of overtime, bonuses, cash outs of leave, or other lump sum payments.

SB 5633

Correcting PERS Retiree Return to Work Restrictions*

*This bill was introduced in the 2013 session and is the same as HB 2407 introduced in the 2014 session.

ESHB 1981 of the 2011 session modified the return to work rules for PERS retirees. This bill would correct some unintended consequences of those statute changes to ensure that:

  • PERS retirees who return to work in ineligible positions would not be subject to the 867 hour limitation.
  • PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3 retirees who return to work in eligible positions covered by other DRS administered systems would be eligible to work up to 867 hours before their benefit is suspended.
ESSB 5851

Optional Defined Contribution Plan for Public Employees
This bill would provide an additional retirement plan choice for employees hired into PERS, TRS, SERS, and PSERS eligible positions. In lieu of participating in a Plan 2 or Plan 3, new employees hired after 7/1/2014 would also be able to choose to participate in the Public Employees’ Savings Plan. PESP is a defined contribution plan, where member and employer contributions are invested at the discretion of the member in investment options provided by the Department. Additionally, all existing employees could choose to transfer their retirement benefits into the PESP between January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.

SB 6305

Creating a Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Option for Elected Officials
This bill would create a retirement savings plan option for public officials elected or appointed to elective office after July 1, 2015. After this date, newly elected officials would only have the choice of participating in this savings plan option, and could not participate in one of the state administered defined benefit retirement plans, such as PERS. This would apply to all officials elected after this date, even if they participated in a retirement plan for periods prior to July of 2015. This bill has been amended in the following way:

  • It now has an effective date of July 1, 2016.
  • It would allow PERS members the option to remain in PERS if they are at least age 50 upon their date of reelection.
  • It exempts elected Judges and Justices from the provisions of the bill.
SB 6459

Defining Compensation for Elected Official Benefit Calculations
This bill would calculate the PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3 benefit accrued as an elected official using only the compensation earned as an elected official. Additionally, instead of the current five year average of salary used, this would average the salary over the entire elected career. The service earned by an elected official in a non-elected position would not be affected by this bill. This would apply to all PERS Plan 2/3 officials elected after July of 2015, but would also apply to any periods of elected service prior to July of 2015 these officials had established. This bill has been amended to remove the provision of a career salary average for the elected official portion of the benefit, and create a 60 month salary average of just elected salary for the elected official portion of the benefit.

Voice your opinion on any bill by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Watch or listen to hearings on TVW.