"A camel is a horse designed by a committee."
The deadline for bills to pass their house of origin has passed. Committee agendas are now full of hearings on bills from the opposing house.
Listed below are bills that appear still ‘alive’ remembering that NTIB bills are always in the background and may come forward at any time.
Retirement Related Proposals
As a repeat of a repeat: Previous reports have covered the bills related to addressing the lack of a Cost-Of-
Living increase (COLA) for members in TRS/PERS Plans 1 and requesting a COLA for members of those plans. They are: ESHB 1057/SB 5350, HB 1201/ESSB 5294, and HB 1459.
There are three basic bills currently moving that deal with pensions. These address the request for a one-time 3% COLA, employer rates, and how to deal with the $800 million the legislature set aside last session to lower the unfunded liability within TRS Plan 1.
SB 5350 would grant a one-time, capped 3% COLA for TRS1/PERS1 plan members. It also directs the Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) to recommend a path to regain a permanent COLA for these retirees.
The Senate passed the bill 48/0, and it is scheduled for a public hearing 3/9 before House Appropriations.
ESSB 5294 was amended. Reduces the minimum contribution rates for the Plan 1 Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability (UAAL) in the Public Employees' and Teachers' Retirement System Plans 1 (PERS 1 and TRS 1) to 0.5 percent. • Sets UAAL rates for PERS 1 and TRS 1 for fiscal years 2024 through 2027. • Reduces the scheduled payment of $800 million into the TRS 1 fund to $250 million.
The Senate passed the bill 48/0, and it is scheduled for a public hearing 3/9 before House Appropriations.
ESHB 1057 would grant a one-time, capped 3% COLA for TRS1/PERS1 plan members. It also directed the SCPP to recommend a path to regain a permanent COLA for these retirees. Unlike its companion, an adopted amendment froze current rates until 2027.
The bill passed the House 96/0 and is scheduled for Executive Session 3/21 before Senate Ways and Means.
SHB 1007: Concerning interruptive military service credit for members of the state retirement systems.
Comment: Retirement credit can be awarded if, in any armed conflicts, the participant was awarded the respective campaign or expeditionary badge or medal…. the ‘expeditionary badge qualifier was added.
SHB 1007 passed the House 97/0 and has moved to Executive Session 3/13 before Senate Ways and Means.
HB 1008: Concerning participating in insurance plans and contracts by separated Plan 2 members of certain retirement systems.
Comment: This bill would simply make retiree insurance provisions uniform and equitable for Plan 2 and 3 members.
HB 1008 passed the House 93/0 and has been moved to Executive Session 3/13 before Senate Ways and Means.
SHB 1056: Repealing some post-retirement employment restrictions.
Comment:Changes the postretirement employment restrictions on benefits eligibility for Public Employees' Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System, and School Employees Retirement System Plans 2 and 3 members that retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors (ERFs). • Permits 2008 ERF members to work in retirement system–covered employment for up to 867 hours per year without suspension of retirement benefits. • Adjusts benefits for individuals that chose the 3 percent per year early retirement reduction to the level of reduction in the 2008 ERFs for future benefit payments. Effective 1/1/2024.
SHB 1056 passed the House 93/0 and has moved to Executive Session 3/13 before Senate Ways and Means.
SSB 5121: Extending the expiration date of the joint select committee on health care oversight.
Comment: Extends the expiration date of the Joint Select Committee on Health Care Oversight from December 31, 2022, until December 31, 2026, and renames it the Joint Select Committee on Health Care and Behavioral Health Oversight.
Passed Senate 48/0. Executive Session before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee is scheduled 3/10.
SSB 5490: Concerning health care coverage for retired or disabled employees denied coverage for failure to timely notify the authority of their intent to defer coverage.
Comment: Allows certain retired public employees who were denied retiree health care coverage by the Public Employees Benefits Board another limited opportunity to enroll. • Only retired or disabled employees who were denied coverage for failure to notify the Health Care Authority of their deferral of coverage, and appealed the denial before December 31, 2022, are provided the new opportunity to enroll.
This bill passed the Senate 48/0 and was sent to House Appropriations for a public hearing 3/9 and Executive Session 3/15.
Other Areas of Potential Fiscal Impact (and often unfunded) to Districts
SHB 1068: Concerning injured workers' rights during compelled medical examinations.
Comment: Allows an injured worker to make an audio and video recording of an independent medical examination and to have one person of the worker's choosing present during the examination.
This bill passed the House 65/33 and will have a public hearing 3/14 before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.
SHB 1105: Requiring public agencies to provide notice for public comment that includes the last date by which such public comment must be submitted.
Comment: Mandates a public agency that is required to solicit public comment for a statutorily specified period of time, and to provide notice that it is soliciting public comment to include in the notice the last day by which written public comment may be submitted. • Makes an agency that violates the requirement to include in a notice for public comment the last day by which written comment may be submitted subject to a civil penalty of $500 for the first violation and $1000 for any subsequent violation.
Passed the House 95/0 and has been moved to Senate State Government awaiting scheduling.
SHB 1106: Concerning qualifications for unemployment insurance when an individual voluntarily leaves work.
Comment: Expands access to unemployment insurance benefits by adding circumstances where a person may voluntarily quit for good cause
This bill passed House 51/44 and has been sent to Senate Labor and Commerce awaiting a hearing.
SHB 1187: Concerning privileged communication between employees and the unions that represent them.
Comment: Creates a privilege from examination and disclosure for a union representative and a union employee concerning any communication between the union representative or union employee made during union representation. • Applies the privilege from examination and disclosure to the union members and organizations that represent: employees of college districts, public employees, faculty at public four-year institutions of higher education, civil service employees, ferry employees, port employees, and labor unions.
This bill passed the House 95/0 and has been sent to Senate Law and Justice for scheduled hearing.
SHB 1200: Requiring public employers to provide employee information to exclusive bargaining representatives.
Comment: Requires certain public employers (including school districts) to provide exclusive bargaining representatives information, such as contact information, date of hire, salary, and job site location, of employees in bargaining units if the employer has that information in its records. • Allows an exclusive bargaining representative to bring a court action if a public employer fails to comply with the requirement to provide information.
SHB 1200 passed the House 56/41 and has been moved to Senate Labor and Commerce for a public hearing 3/16.
EHB 1210: Concerning the recording of school board meetings.
Comment: Requires all school district board meetings to be audio recorded, subject to exceptions for executive sessions and emergencies, with recordings kept for one year. • Specifies that a public records request for recordings of meetings of a school district board of directors must include the date of the meetings requested or a range of dates. • Encourages school districts to make the content of school board of directors meetings available in formats accessible to individuals who need communication assistance and in languages other than English.
This bill passed House 96/1 and is scheduled for Executive Session before the Senate State Government Committee 3/17.
SHB 1248: Concerning pupil transportation.
Comment: Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide transportation safety net awards to school districts with excess special passenger costs for special education, homeless, and foster students, as defined in the operating budget. • Requires that school district contracts for pupil transportation services must include sufficient funds to provide employees of the contracting employer with health benefits and pension contributions equivalent to those of school district classified employees. • Provides one-time supplemental allocations to districts that experience higher costs because of the new contract requirements. (According to the fiscal note, these allocations are just partial and paltry reimbursement for added costs for the benefits.)
This bill did not advance
out of Rules and is ‘dead’ subject to legislative whim.
ESSHB 1320: Concerning access to personnel records.
Comment: Specifies that an employer must provide the employee's complete, unredacted personnel file within 14 calendar days of the request from the employee, former employee, or their attorney, agent, or fiduciary. • Requires an employer to provide to a former employee, upon request, a statement of the employee's discharge date and reasons, if any, for the discharge. • • Creates a private cause of action to enforce the requirements. Requires the Department of Labor and Industries and the Employment Security Department to provide employers with information regarding the employer's obligations and the employee's rights.
Passed the House 56/40 and will be moved to Senate Labor and Commerce committee.
2SSB 5048: Eliminating college in the high school fees.
Comment: Requires institutions of higher education to provide enrollment and registration in College in the High School (CHS) courses at no cost to students in grades 9 through 12 at public high schools. • Requires the Legislature to appropriate funds to fund CHS courses at inflation-adjusted rates. • Directs high schools that provide a CHS course to include information in the course catalog that there is no fee for students to enroll in a CHS course.
Passed the Senate 48/0 and has been sent to the House awaiting assignment.
SB 5084: Creating a separate fund for the purposes of self-insured pensions and assessments.
Comment: Creates a self-insurance reserve fund for payments from self-insured employers related to workers' compensation pensions and from the overpayments reimbursement fund.
SB 5084 passed the Senate 47/2 and is awaiting assignment.
ESSB 5123: Concerning the employment of individuals who lawfully consume cannabis.
Comment: Prohibits employers, with some exceptions, from discriminating against a person in hiring if the discrimination is based on the person's use of cannabis outside of work or on certain employer-required drug screening tests.
Passed Senate 28/21. Sent to House Labor for public hearing 3/14.
SHB 5174: Providing adequate and predictable student transportation.
Comment: Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide an analysis of school district transportation costs and allocations to the Legislature by June 1, 2026. • • Creates a special passenger safety net program.
This bill passed Senate 48/0 and is scheduled for a public hearing before House Appropriations 3/15.
HB 1656: Concerning unemployment insurance benefits appeal procedures.
Comment: A dispute of an individual's initial determination, determination of allowance or denial of allowance of benefits, or redetermination of allowance or denial of benefits, all matters covered by such initial determination, determination, or redetermination shall be deemed to be in issue subject to appeal.
SB 5240 passed the Senate 47/0 and has been moved to House Labor Committee for a public hearing 3/15. HB 1656 passed the House 96/0 and has been moved to Senate Labor and Commerce awaiting scheduling.
SSB 5275: Expanding access to benefits provided by the school employees' benefits board.
Comment: Allows tribal compact schools, employee organizations representing school employees, and school board directors the option of providing health care through the School Employees Benefits Board through SEBB beginning January 1, 2024. Employers opting into coverage under SEBB may determine the terms of employee and dependent eligibility and must pay premiums set by HCA.
Passed Senate and has been moved to House Appropriations for a public hearing 3/9 and Executive Session on 3/15.
Modifying the premium provisions of the Paid Family and Medical Leave program.
Comment: Amends the premium rate calculation in the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (PFML) to be based on a specified formula rather than the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Account (Account) balance ratio on September 30th of the previous year. • Sets a maximum rate of 1.2 percent and removes the Employment Security Department's authority to assess a solvency surcharge if the Account balance ratio falls below a certain threshold. • Removes expired and outdated language in the PFML premium provisions.
Passed Senate 48/0 and moved to House Labor Committee for public hearing 3/14 and Executive Session 3/17.
SB 5296: Concerning interruptive military service credit for members of the state retirement systems.
Comment: Members of the state's retirement systems who leave employment to enter the armed forces of the United States may be eligible for interruptive military service credit. Interruptive military service credit applies to all Washington state retirement systems. A member can qualify for up to five years of no-cost interruptive military service credit. The employer and state pay their contributions plus interest, and the system subsidizes the member contributions and interest.
Passed the House 49/0 and will be sent to House Appropriations awaiting scheduling.
2SSB 5593: Improving equity in the transfer of student data between K-12 schools and institutions of higher education.
Comment: Requires public institutions of higher education to enter into data-sharing agreements with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to facilitate the transfer of high school student directory information for informing high school students of postsecondary educational opportunities in the state. • Requires school districts with a high school to annually transmit directory information to OSPI by November 1st. • Directs OSPI, by no later than the 2025-26 school year, to identify a process for providing student enrollment information to school districts. • Permits the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to coordinate with all community and technical colleges (CTCs) to develop a single data-sharing agreement between the CTCs and OSPI.
Passed the Senate 40/8 and has been moved to House Education for a public hearing 3/13.
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