General

2011 Legislative Session

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

* Signed by the Governor

Pension Bills Passed During 2011 Session

House Bill Number Title
*HB 1263 PSERS Employer Definition
SCPP Request Bill. This bill modifies the employer definition within PSERS to include correctional entities formed by PSERS employers under the Interlocal Cooperation Act (RCW 39.34).
*HB 1625 Default Investment Option for Plan 3
This bill changes the investment option for new employees who default into membership in PERS, TRS, or SERS Plan 3 by failing to choose a retirement plan within the allotted 90 days. The current default investment option is investing in the Commingled Trust Fund option, called the Total Allocation Portfolio, or TAP. The new default investment option is the Target Date fund that is designed for the closest age to the member at the time of default. The defaulted member will still retain the option to change his/her investment choices at any time.
*SHB 2021 Eliminating the Plan 1 Annual Adjustment for Certain PERS and TRS Retirees
Governor request bill. This bill eliminates an automatic annual benefit increase for retirees/beneficiaries in Plan 1 of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) after June 30, 2011. This bill does not reduce retirement allowances below the amounts in effect on July 1, 2010; nor does it impact the existing minimum retirement benefits. This bill also lowers the minimum employer contribution rates for the unfunded liability in both plans, and increases the Adjusted Minimum Benefit limit to $1,545 per month.
*HB 2070 Determining Average Salary for the Pension Purposes of Public Employees
This bill requires the Department to calculate the benefits of retiring government employees so that they include qualifying foregone compensation that occurred during the 2011-2013 biennium. This applies to members of PERS, TRS, SERS, PSERS, WSPRS, and LEOFF.
*SB 5860
Compensation Reductions for State Employees

This bill provides for salary reductions for employees of a state agency or institution during the 2011-13 biennium.

*ESHB 1981 Retire/Rehire and Higher Education Retirement Plans Reform

This bill impacts retirees from each plan within PERS, TRS, SERS and PSERS in the following:

  • Limits to 867 the post retirement hours a retiree from Plan 1 of PERS and TRS may work prior to suspending their pension benefit. This limit applies to all retirees beginning January 1, 2012.
  • Limits the ability of higher education institutions and entities to offer their Higher Education Retirement Plans (HERPs) to only exempt employees.
  • Applies the return to work provisions of the applicable retirement system to higher education positions eligible for the HERPs.
  • Higher education institutions and entities are prohibited from offering participation in a HERP to any newly hired employee that has retired or is eligible to retire from a DRS administered retirement system.
  • The guaranteed minimum retirement benefit provisions currently available to HERP participants is discontinued for all newly hired HERP participants.
  • Newly hired employees eligible for participating in a HERP are given the option at the time of hire to participate in PERS or TRS Plan 3, or participate in a HERP.
  • The Office of the State Actuary will oversee an actuarial valuation of the guaranteed minimum retirement benefit provisions.
  • Institutions are required to submit a percentage of HERP covered employees’ salary to DRS to be invested by the WSIB. These funds will be used to pay required supplemental benefits to eligible HERP retirees.
  • The SCPP is given the authority to review HERP benefits and make recommendations to the Legislature.
  • General Fund payments to higher education institutions and entities will only pay up to 6% of salary in matching contributions to the HERP participants.

 

The following pension bills did not pass during the 2011 session

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

House Bill Number Senate Bill Number Title
HB:1022
Post Retirement Employment Regulations of Public Employees

This bill would do the following:

  • Requires higher education institutions and entities to certify that a rehired employee has been separated for at least nine months and had no agreement to be rehired prior to the original separation from employment.
  • Applies the return to work provisions of PERS to higher education positions eligible for the HERPs.
  • Requires the Department to assume that a valid separation from employment has not occurred if any PERS retiree returns to work within nine months with the same employer from which they retired. The Department would be further required to begin collection on overpayment of pension benefits and to investigate the separation and reemployment of the retiree.
HB 1083:
Post Retirement Employment of Retirement System Members

This bill would impact retirees from each plan within PERS, TRS, SERS and PSERS in the following:

  • Limits to 867 the post retirement hours a retiree from each system and plan above could work prior to suspending their pension benefit.
  • Applies the return to work provisions of the applicable retirement system to higher education positions eligible for the HERPs.
HB 1201: SB 5147
Eliminate the Mandatory Retirement Age for Judges

This bill would eliminate the mandatory retirement age of 75 for Judges covered under the retirement provisions of RCW 2.10, the Judicial Retirement System, and for District Court Judges. This bill would take effect only if voters approve an amendment to the State Constitution on the above provisions.

HB 1260 SB 5159
CVEOS and Communication Officers Time into WSPRS

SCPP Request Bill. This bill would allow current Washington State Patrol Retirement System (WSPRS) members who have service credit within Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) Plan 2 to transfer their PERS credit earned as commercial vehicle enforcement officers or as communications officers into the WSPRS. The member would pay the full actuarial cost of the transfer.

HB 1261 SB 5163
Annuity Withdrawal Option for TRS Plan 1 Survivors

SCPP Request Bill. This bill would allow survivors of active, retirement eligible Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) Plan 1 members who die prior to retirement the option to withdraw all or part of the member's account balance. The survivor would then receive an actuarially reduced on-going monthly survivor benefit.

HB 1262 SB 5162
Return to Work and Higher Education Retirement Plans

SCPP Request Bill. This bill would do the following:

  • Limits the ability of higher education institutions and entities to offer their Higher Education Retirement Plans (HERPs) to only faculty and senior administrative employees.
  • Removes eligibility for the supplemental retirement benefit currently available to HERP members from all future employees who first become employed in a HERP eligible position after the effective date of the bill.
  • Applies the return to work provisions of PERS to higher education positions eligible for the HERPs.
  • Prohibits higher education institutions and entities from offering their HERPs to employees that were retired or eligible to retire from one of the DRS administered retirement systems.
  • Allows the Select Committee on Pension Policy to periodically review the plans offered by the higher education institutions and entities.
  • Requires the Department to assume that a valid separation from employment has not occurred if any PERS retiree returns to work within three months with the same employer from which they retired.
HB 1374 SB 5284
Requiring Private Collection Agencies Be Used by State Agencies

This bill would require state agencies to use private collection agencies to collect certain unpaid obligations owed to the agency. It would also provide no cost service credit to certain state employees whose jobs are displaced by this new requirement. Employees could receive up to five years of free service, one month for each month they are no longer employed by an employer.

HB 1411 SB 5255
WSP Overtime Inclusion as Salary for Retirement Purposes

This bill would allow voluntary overtime related to transportation projects and interagency agreements to be included in the retirement calculation for Washington State Patrol Retirement System members.

HB 1450 SB 5160
SCPP Lump Sum Duty Death Benefit

SCPP Request Bill. This bill would increase from $150,000 to $214,000 the lump sum death benefit provided to beneficiaries of eligible public employees killed in the line of duty. This would apply to beneficiaries of state, school or higher education employees not in the retirement systems, as well as beneficiaries of members of PERS, TRS, School Employees' Retirement System (SERS), Public Safety Employees' Retirement System (PSERS), and the Volunteer Firefighters' and Reserve Officers' Relief and Pension System.

HB 1445 SB 5354
Presumptive Medical for Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters

LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board request bill. This bill expands the list of duty related presumptive illnesses for firefighters to include strokes. It also creates a duty related presumption for law enforcement officers who suffer a heart attack or stroke under certain conditions. This means the illness is presumed to be duty related under the specified circumstances.

HB 1704
Five year vesting in Plan 3

This bill modifies age and service credit requirements for receiving an unreduced retirement benefit to require at least five years of service credit at age 65 for Plan 3 members of PERS, TRS, and SERS.

HB 1705
Rule of 85

This bill provides unreduced retirement benefits to any vested Plan 2 and Plan 3 member of PERS, TRS, and SERS, who is at least age 55 and for whom the sum of the member's age and the number of years of the member's service credit equals 85 or more.

HB 1742
Removing Subsidized Early Retirement Factors from the Plans 2/3

Governor request bill. This bill removes the alternate early retirement provisions for PERS Plan 2 and 3, SERS Plan 2 and 3 and TRS Plan 2 and 3; for members who first become employed in an eligible position on or after July 1, 2011.

HB 1787
Impact on Pension Benefit of Reduced Compensation for School Employees

This bill would require the Department to calculate a retiring TRS and SERS member's benefit who was employed by a school district so that it includes foregone compensation during the 2009-2011 biennium due to qualifying budget reduction strategies.

HB 1851
Retirement Eligibility for Plan 2/3 Public School Administrators

This bill would allow Plan 2/3 administrators in School Districts to retire using the Alternate Early Retirement Reduction factors if:

  • They have been employed for 30 school years; and
  • Have at least 29 years and 10 months of retirement service credit; and
  • Are at least age 55.
HB 1956 SB 5833
Waiver of PERS Eligibility for Plan 1 Employees of Labor Guilds and Associations

This bill would allow Plan 1 employees of Labor Guilds and Associations to forego rights to future coverage under the PERS system while working for that employer. If they choose to do this, they will be considered to be employed in an ineligible position under the PERS definitions.

HB 2018 SB 5882
Local Government Employee's Benefit Calculation

This bill would require the Department to calculate the benefits of retiring local government employees to include qualifying foregone compensation that occurred during the 2011-2013 biennium. This would apply to local government employees in PERS, PSERS, and LEOFF Plan 2.

HB 2068
Setting LEOFF Plan 2 Contribution Rates for the 2011-2013 Fiscal Biennium

This bill sets the member, employer and state contribution rates for LEOFF Plan 2 for the 2011-2013 biennium at the actuarially required level, as determined by the State Actuary.

HB 2071
Determining Funding for the Local Public Safety Account

This bill amends LEOFF Plan 2 by removing a provision of law that would allow a potential transfer of $5 million to the public safety enhancement account prior to September 30, 2011, and provides for a contribution rate if funds transferred to the LEOFF Plan 2 retirement system benefits improvement account are insufficient to fund benefit improvements paid for by that account.

HB 2097
Merging the Trust Funds of LEOFF Plan 1 and LEOFF Plan 2

This bill consolidates the trust funds for both Plan 1 and Plan 2 of the LEOFF Retirement System into a new fund for all LEOFF members and retirees. This bill also modifies the authority and duties of the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board to include functions related to the new combined fund.

SB 5212
Presumptive Medical for Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters

This bill expands the list of duty related presumptive illnesses for firefighters to include strokes. It also creates a duty related presumption for law enforcement officers who suffer a heart attack or stroke under certain conditions. This means the illness is presumed to be duty related under the specified circumstances.

SB 5323
Modifying Retirement Provisions for Judges

This bill would modify the mandatory retirement age of 75 for Judges covered under the retirement provisions of RCW 2.10, the Judicial Retirement System. This would allow Judges to retire either at the end of the calendar year in which they turn 75 or at the end of their term in office after attaining age 75.

SB 5474
Higher Education Retirement Plans

Governor request bill. This bill would modify the provisions of the Higher Education Retirement Plans (HERPs).

  • Higher education institutions and entities would be prohibited from offering participation in a HERP to any newly hired employee that has retired or is eligible to retire from PERS, TRS or SERS.
  • The guaranteed minimum retirement benefit provisions currently available to HERP participants would be discontinued for all newly hired HERP participants.
  • Newly hired employees eligible for participating in a HERP would be given the option at the time of hire to participate in PERS or TRS Plan 3, or participate in a HERP.
  • The Office of the State Actuary would oversee an actuarial valuation of the guaranteed minimum retirement benefit provisions.
  • The State would only provide funding to pay up to 6% matching employer contributions for HERP participants. If additional matching funds are provided, they must be paid by the Institutions.
SB 5569
Post Retirement Employment in Higher Education

This bill would exempt Teachers' Plan 1 retirees from post-retirement employment restrictions if they meet the following criteria:

  • They return to work for a Higher Education employer at least one month after retirement; and
  • They return to work in a non-instructional capacity.
SB 5829
Compensation Adjustments in School Districts

This bill would provide flexibility for School District employers to achieve compensation reductions in the 2011-2013 fiscal biennium. It would also require the Department to calculate the following retiring member's benefits so that they include foregone compensation during the 2011-2013 biennium due to qualifying budget reduction strategies:

  • Members of TRS and SERS employed by a state agency or institution
  • All members of PERS
SB 5846
Health Benefits to TRS Retirees

This bill would require the Health Care Authority (HCA) to pay a monthly subsidy of $250 to retirees of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) Plan 1 if the following apply:

  • The retiree is ineligible for Medicare; and
  • They apply for a service retirement with an effective date between June 1 and August 31 of 2011; and
  • They receive their first retirement payment before October 31, 2011.

Members who choose to receive this subsidy are not subject to post-retirement employment restrictions until August 31, 2014.

SB 5852
Post-Retirement Employment Restrictions for PERS Plan 1 and TRS Plan 1 Retirees

This bill would limit to 867 the post retirement hours Plan 1 retirees could work prior to suspending their pension benefit. This limit on hours would only apply to Plan 1 retirees who retire on or after September 1, 2011.

SB 5908
Creating the Washington Public Employees' Savings Plan

This bill creates a new defined contribution retirement system for newly hired public employees employed by state, local government and political subdivision employers. The Public Employees' Savings Plan (PESP) is established effective January 1, 2013 and will be administered by the Department of Retirement Systems. The current PERS, TRS, SERS, and PSERS retirement systems would be closed to new employees, and all future employees that would have established membership in these plans would now be members of the PESP.