Retirement & Health Benefits for February 23, 2024

Fred Yancey, The Nexus Group LLC
Feb 23, 2024

Retirement Blog

  "People who love sausage and people who believe in justice (politics) should never watch either of them being made." - Otto Bismark

Both the Senate and the House have been busy with committee hearings as the Feb. 21st deadline for policy bills to be released from committees just passed and the Feb. 26th deadline for fiscal bills approaches. 

There has been little floor action. Next week debate and floor passage will begin anew and at a rapid pace given the March 1 deadline for bills to clear their respective houses.

Little has changed since last week’s report. An up-to-date summary will come next week after the deadline dust has settled. 

There are unknown actions yet to come, particularly amendments to proposals, as the deadlines approach. However, one bill has been singled out by the Washington State School Retirees’ Association (WSSRA) for aggressive lobbying. 

Retirement Related Proposals

SHB 1985: Providing a benefit increase to certain retirees of the public employees' retirement system plan 1 and the teachers' retirement system plan 1.

Comment: This bill passed House 97/0. It was unanimously approved as request legislation by the Select Committee on Penson Policy. It would provide an ad-hoc 3% pension increase in 2024 not to exceed $110/month for TRS1/PERS1 Plan retirees. (The original bill was set at $125/month.) It had a public hearing Feb. 20th before WM and has been scheduled for executive session. If it passes the committee it will go to Rules. Complicating this, however, is the fact that the proposed Senate Budget (PSSSB 5950) does not fund the COLA unlike the House proposal (PSHB 2104) which does. 

WSSRA members/constituents are working with the legislators who sit on the WM, the Rules’ Committee and party leaders urging passage of the bill. It needs to come out of committee and out of the Senate. The appropriation cannot take effect unless a bill authorizes it. The bill is NTIB so there is some flexibility regarding deadlines, but with a March 1 deadline, WSSRA is taking no chances. 

Fred Yancey
The Nexus Group LLC 

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