Retirement & Health Benefits for April 23, 2021

Fred Yancey | The Nexus Group
Apr 23, 2021
Retirement Blog

“I’m not making any plans. I’m going to let the universe (Legislature) surprise me.” ~ Anonymous

Or

“The only things you like sprung on you are snacks.” ~ Abby Jimenez

The biennial budget, worked out in secrecy, will supposedly be released after this report is due. Dollars drive or kill policies, so there may be some surprises in the agreed upon document.

Meanwhile, here is a brief report on bills that are still in play and/or that have changed status since previous reports.

Retirement Related Proposals

HB 1565 would grant a one-time 1.5% COLA to TRS1/PERS1 members. It has not had a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee. Without it and passage by the committee, the COLA will not be funded. This bill and COLA are likely ‘dead’ unless the COLA is maintained in the budget and the implementing bill is brought directly to the floor as part of the bills needed to implement the budget.

SB 5453 | Concerning plans 1 and 2 of the state retirement systems by combining LEROFF 1 and TRS Plan 1 assets to retire the unfunded liability of TRS 1.

This bill is ‘dead’ BUT, the concept of paying down the unfunded liabilities (UAAL) in TRS1 and PERS1 plans is a sound, fiscal move with strong support of some legislative leaders from both parties.

The Senate budget included a commitment to spend $800 million of the Rainy-Day Fund (to be replaced with Federal dollars) on June 30, 2023 to decrease UAAL in TRS1. The House did nothing on this issue.

This issue may appear in the final budget. It does not need a hearing and committee action, unlike HB 1565 above.

ESSB 5097 expands coverage of the paid family and medical leave program. (The Senate concurred 29–19 and the bill will be sent to the Governor.)

ESHB 1214 | Creates the category of safety and security staff for kindergarten through grade 12 public schools. (The Governor already signed this bill. It will go into effect 7/25/21.)

SSB 5425 | Concerning extended benefits in the unemployment insurance system. (The Governor signed. Effective 4/16/2021.)

Fred Yancey
The Nexus Group LLC


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