Legislation

The 2017 regular session of the 65th Legislature convened Jan. 9 and adjourned April 23. The 2017 1st special session adjourned May 23, 2017; the 2nd special session adjourned June 21, 2017; the 3rd special session adjourned July 20, 2017.

Pension-Related Bills — 2017 Session

Below is a list of pension-related bills introduced in 2017. The first section contains bills passed by both houses of the Legislature; bills signed by the governor or otherwise enacted are marked by an asterisk (*). The second section contains bills introduced but not passed. For more information on legislation and the legislative process, visit the Washington State Legislature's website.

Pension-Related Bills Passed for the 2017 Session

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

Senate Bill Number House Bill Number Title/Summary
*SB 5274 -- Washington State Patrol overtime
Amends the definition of “salary” in the Washington State Patrol Retirement System to include voluntary overtime earned after July 1, 2017. Results in voluntary overtime being considered earnable compensation, which is used when calculating a retiree’s Average Final Salary and, therefore, his or her monthly benefit amount. (*Signed by the governor 5/4/17.)
-- *HB 1709 Allowing PERS members meeting specific criteria to transfer service credit into PSERS
Allows Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) members who meet certain eligibility criteria to transfer their PERS service credit into PSERS as long as they pay the difference between the PERS and PSERS contribution rates for the affected service credit. Their employers would also have to pay the difference between the contribution rates. (*Signed by the governor 4/27/17.)
*SB 5661 -- No-cost interruptive military service credit for LEOFF Plan 2 members
Directs the LEOFF 2 Board to conduct a study of expanding access to no-cost interruptive military service credit for LEOFF Plan 2 members. (*Signed by the governor 5/4/17.)
-- *HB 2202 Eligibility of EMTs for membership in LEOFF Plan 2
Changes the definition of “employer” for Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System (LEOFF) Plan 2 to include public corporations that provide emergency medical services. Narrows the definition of “emergency medical technicians” in LEOFF Plan 2 to require they be physician-trained advanced EMTs or paramedics whose duties include providing emergency medical services. Allows EMTs meeting certain eligibility criteria to establish service credit in LEOFF Plan 2 for qualifying services provided between July 24, 2005, and the bill’s effective date. (*Signed by the governor 5/16/17.)

Pension-Related Bills Introduced (But Not Passed) for the 2017 Session

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

Senate Bill Number House Bill Number Title
SB 5061 HB 1173 Military service credit for Washington State Patrol Retirement System members
If enacted, this bill would impact which Washington State Patrol Retirement System (WSPRS) members receive service credit for interruptive military service. Currently, members receive service credit for interruptive military service only if it occurs between being employed at the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and returning to the WSP. This bill would extend service credit for interruptive military service to those who don’t begin at the WSP but do become employed with the WSP after their military service ends, as well as those who do begin at the WSP but don’t return to it.
SB 5276 HB 1708 Age-based plan opt-out
If enacted, this bill would allow new employees who are age 60 or older who have no prior service in any of the state’s retirement systems to choose to not participate in the state retirement system. The employer of a new employee who opts out would still pay the employer contributions for that employee. An employee who opts out wouldn’t pay member contributions. 
SB 5310 -- Allowing TRS retirees who used the 2008 ERFs to return to work as coaches
If enacted, this bill would allow Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) retirees who retired using the 2008 Early Retirement Factors (ERFs) to temporarily return to work as K-12 school coaches for up to 867 hours per calendar year before having their monthly benefits suspended.
SB 5487 HB 1685 Allowing TRS retirees who used the 2008 ERFs to return to work as mentors
If enacted, this bill would allow Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) retirees who retired using the 2008 Early Retirement Factors (ERFs) to temporarily return to work as a mentor to teachers or advisor to students in a teacher preparation program for up to 867 hours per calendar year before having their monthly benefits suspended
SB 5495 -- Amending estoppel criteria to apply only to those eligible for “normal” retirement
If enacted, this bill would amend estoppel criteria so a member would be prevented (that is, estopped) from membership in a retirement system only if the member is eligible for a normal retirement in his or her existing retirement system. Therefore, a member who is eligible only for early retirement or another alternate retirement would be mandated into membership unless excluded by other criteria.
SB 5556 HB 1484 Benefit enhancement for PERS Plan 1 and TRS Plan 1 retirees
If enacted, this bill would provide a permanent increase of $2 per year of service credit to Plan 1 retirees of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).
SB 5601 -- Amending return-to-work restrictions for TRS retirees who used the 2008 ERFs
Current law allows Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) members who retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors (ERFs) to return to work as K-12 substitute teachers in an instructional capacity for up to 867 hours per calendar year before having their monthly benefits suspended. If enacted, this bill would remove the requirement that 2008 ERF retiree substitute teachers return to work in an instructional capacity.
SB 5653 -- Merging PEBB with DRS
If enacted, this bill would move administration of the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program from the state Health Care Authority (HCA) to the state Department of Retirement Systems (DRS).
SB 5659 HB 1932 Addressing the eligibility of EMTs employed by public hospital districts for membership in LEOFF
If enacted, this bill would exclude emergency medical technicians (EMTs) whom public hospital districts employ from membership in the Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System (LEOFF) unless they were first in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). This bill would apply retroactively and prospectively.
SB 5833 -- One-time adjustment to TRS Plan 1 minimum benefit
If enacted, this bill would provide a one-time increase of 1.5% to the adjusted minimum benefit and minimum benefit for Plan 1 retirees of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).
SB 5900 -- Expenditures from the Budget Stabilization Account for PERS 1 unfunded liability
If enacted, this bill would appropriate $700 million from the Budget Stabilization Account to the Public Employees' Retirement System Plan 1 trust fund to reduce the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of PERS 1. DRS employers with active members in PERS, SERS and/or PSERS would pay back the amount transferred from the account through a monthly surcharge collected by DRS.
-- HB 1288 Regarding additional employer contribution rates
If enacted, 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 1558 Adding additional employers and job types to membership in PSERS
If enacted, this bill would add the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Social and Health Services as Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) employers. Additionally, the bill would modify eligibility for the plan to include employees who provide regular nursing care or who ensure the custody and safety of offender, probationary or patient populations at certain state and local government institutions.
-- HB 1560 Plan 2 default for PERS, SERS and TRS
If this bill is enacted, Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), School Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) members who don’t choose between Plan 2 and Plan 3 within 90 days of initial employment would default into Plan 2. Currently, such members default into Plan 3.

Voice your opinion on any bill by using the Legislature's online commenting tool or by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Watch or listen to hearings and floor activity on TVW.