Pension-Related Legislation

The 2019 regular session of the 66th Legislature adjourned April 28.

Below is a list of pension-related bills introduced in 2019. 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 website.

Pension-Related Bills Passed for the 2019 Session

An asterisk (*) indicates the bill was signed by the governor or otherwise enacted into law.

Select the link on the bill number for detailed information about the legislation.

Also available: Guide to System/Plan Abbreviations

Senate Bill Number House Bill Number Title and Summary – As Originally Introduced
-- HB 1139* Expanding the current and future educator workforce supply.
When implemented, certain provisions of this bill will allow TRS and SERS retirees who retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors to use post-retirement employment options in K-12 prior to reaching age 65 without suspension of benefits. The bill also repeals an existing expiration date for a similar provision related to substitute teachers.
SB 5350* -- Concerning the purchase of an optional life annuity benefit for certain public retirement system members. (By request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy.)
When implemented, this bill will allow members of all DRS-administered retirement systems to purchase a lifetime annuity benefit via the Washington State Investment Board. This annuity purchase option has been only available to members of TRS, WSPRS and LEOFF.
SB 5355* -- Recovering service credit withdrawn from the Public Employees' Retirement System for certain law enforcement officers and firefighters. (By request of the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board.)
When implemented, this bill will allow law enforcement officers or firefighters who meet specific criteria to restore service credit withdrawn from PERS to LEOFF Plan 2. Qualifying individuals are required to pay all member contributions owed, without interest, by taking an actuarial reduction to their ongoing benefit or by making a lump sum payment. The option to recover service credit is available until July 1, 2020.
SB 5360* -- Addressing plan membership default provisions in the Public Employees' Retirement System, the Teachers' Retirement System and the School Employees' Retirement System. (By request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy.)
When implemented, this bill will establish Plan 2 of PERS, TRS and SERS as the default for new members who do not make a plan choice selection within 90 days of hire. The current default is Plan 3.
-- HB 1408* Clarifying the written consent requirement for survivorship benefit options. (By request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy and the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board.)
When this bill is implemented, written spousal consent for a survivorship selection will be required only in instances where retiring members choose to have no survivor benefit go to their spouse or domestic partner, either through the selection of the Single Life option or by naming someone other than the spouse or domestic partner to receive a survivorship benefit.

Pension-Related Bills Introduced (But Not Passed) for the 2019 Session

Select the link on the bill number for detailed information about the legislation.

Senate Bill Number House Bill Number Title
SB 5178 HB 1132 Concerning early retirement options for members of the Teachers' Retirement System and School Employees' Retirement System Plans 2 and 3.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would add a new alternate early retirement option for members of Plans 2 and 3 of TRS and SERS, including the lowering of age thresholds for retiring early with no benefit reduction.
SB 5335 HB 1414 Paying state retirement benefits until the end of the month in which the retiree or beneficiary dies. (By request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy and the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board.)
If enacted as introduced, this bill would provide a full month’s benefit in the month in which a retiree or beneficiary dies, revising the current process of pro-rating payments based on when the individual passed away in that month.
-- HB 1362 Concerning benefits eligibility during post-retirement employment for members of Plans 2 and 3 of the Public Employees' Retirement System, the Teachers' Retirement System and the School Employees' Retirement System.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would remove certain age-based restrictions on receiving benefits during post-retirement employment for members of Plans 2 and 3 of PERS, TRS and SERS who retire using the 2008 Early Retirement Factors.
SB 5400 HB 1390 Providing a benefit increase to certain retirees of the Public Employees' Retirement System Plan 1 and the Teachers' Retirement System Plan 1. (By request of the Select Committee on Pension Policy.)
If enacted as introduced, this bill would provide certain retirees of PERS 1 and TRS 1 who are receiving a monthly benefit on July 1, 2018, a one-time benefit adjustment of 3% multiplied by their monthly benefit, not to exceed $62.50, effective July 2019.
SB 5430 HB 1388 Allowing retirees who retired under alternate early retirement factors enacted in chapter 491, Laws of 2007, to use post-retirement options prior to reaching age 65.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would allow retirees who retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors to use post-retirement employment options prior to reaching age 65 without suspension of benefits. This provision would be effective until August 2022.
-- HB 1661 Concerning the higher education retirement plans.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would establish institution-specific employer contribution rates for supplemental benefits of each higher education retirement plan. Administration of benefit payments would transition to the Department of Retirement Systems at a point after the Pension Funding Council has determined that an institution has accumulated sufficient assets in a supplemental benefit fund to adequately fund the benefits.
-- HB 2127 Concerning additional contribution rates for contributions made after the date the service is rendered for individual employers of Washington state retirement systems.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would establish mechanisms to assess, in certain circumstances, an additional employer-specific pension contribution rate to offset lost investment earnings and interest when the employer is late in reporting employees and their service into a state retirement system.
SB 5687 -- Allowing new government employees the option of opting out of retirement system membership if the employee is age 60 or older when first hired, or when the employee's employer opts into retirement plan participation.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would allow new government 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 would not pay member contributions.
SB 5801 -- Concerning teachers' postretirement employment options.
If enacted as introduced, this bill would allow TRS retirees who retired using the 2008 Early Retirement Factors to return to work as K-12 school counselors, mentors to teachers, athletic coaches or advisers to students in teacher preparation programs for up to 867 hours per calendar year before having their monthly benefits suspended. This provision would be effective until August 2020.

Voice your opinion on any bill by using the Legislature's online commenting tool or by calling the Legislative Hotline at 800.562.6000. Watch or listen to hearings and floor activity on TVW.