March 19th 2019

How to Find and Contact Your Legislators

With everything going on at the Capitol, the LEOFF 1 Coalition will need your help contacting legislators. Do you know how to find and contact them?

Click here to find your legislators.

Click here to learn how to contact your legislators.


LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 Merger Stakeholder Meeting

The second stakeholder meeting on the merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 will be Friday, March 22, 2019.

Click here to read more.

2001 Merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2

2001 - the LEOFF 1 groups worked together to stop the LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 merger.

"This legislative action is simply against the law," said Steve Berman, attorney for the plaintiffs. "Washington state law states very clearly that all monies contained in the LEOFF 1 plan - including the surplus - are held in trust for the benefit of the plan participants, and the participants alone."

Click here to read what happened.


Raid in LEOFF 1 Pension AGAIN
LEOFF Merger Meeting

The LEOFF 1 Coalition President, Bill Dickinson, Lobbyist, Joyce Willms, and the Washington State Retired Deputy Sheriffs and Police Officers Association, represented by Past President Andy Wilson, attended the LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 merger meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, March 14, along with other LEOFF 1 groups.

The question you’re probably asking yourself is, “Why does the state want to merge LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2?” The answer is simple: They want our money so that the state will no longer have to pay into LEOFF 2 until 2021 and can use the remaining money to balance the state budget. It is urgent that we protect the LEOFF Plan 1 name. Without the LEOFF Plan 1 name, your medical benefits will be in jeopardy.

The bill to merge LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 is sponsored by Senator Kevin Van De Wege, Democrat from Legislative District 24 (including Clallam, Grays Harbor, and Jefferson counties) and an active LEOFF 2 Firefighter.

The plan for 2019-2021 and 2021-2023 means that the local employer pays a 30% contribution rate and the employee pays a 50% rate during these years. Then, beginning in 2023-2025, state contributions would restart, but phase out by 2030, shifting to a 55% rate for employees and a 45% rate for employers. The first incentive offer was to give every LEOFF 1 member and beneficiary $15,000 when merging LEOFF 1 to LEOFF 2. At his meeting on March 14th, that number had changed to $20,000 for every LEOFF 1 member and benficiary.

In our opinion, part of this $20,000 payment offer is, basically, a bribe so the Legislators can take your Retirement Trust Fund. The next big question is, if there is no LEOFF Plan 1 name, then your medical benefits may be gone.

As you can see in the LEOFF Merger Draft (linked below), the concern over LEOFF 1 Medical Benefits is not clearly answered. Another point in the draft is the transfer of $300 million from LEOFF 2 into a Benefit Improvement Account, making LEOFF 2 about 106% funded after the transfer. The Legislature would then use LEOFF 1 money to replace the $300 million taken from LEOFF 2. During the meeting, Joyce asked for clarification on what the Benefit Improvement Account would do, but no clear answer was ever given.

The impression we received from the meeting today was that, despite any argument we put forward, Senator Van De Wege plans to move forward with his merger plan. As soon as Van De Wege introduces a bill merging LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2, the LEOFF 1 Coalition will be fund raising to pay for attorney fees and lawsuit. In a lawsuit in 2001, Steve Berman, representing LEOFF 1 interests, stated, “This legislative action is simply against the law. Washington State law states very clearly that all monies contained in the LEOFF 1 plan – including the surplus – are held in trust for the benefit of the plan participants, and the participants alone.”

Van De Wege has already set up the next merger meeting. It will be held on March 22, but with no stated agenda at this time.

Click here to read the merger draft from Van De Wege's meeting on March 14th.

Click here to read the news release on the 2001 LEOFF 1/LEOFF 2 merger lawsuit.

Click here to read the Seattle Times article on the 2001 lawsuit.

LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 Merger

2051 testimony

Senator Kevin Van De Wege is having a stakeholders meeting regarding a merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 on March 14. The LEOFF 1 Coalition President, Bill Dickinson, will be at that meeting.

As we all know, the top priority of the LEOFF 1 Coalition is to protect the “LEOFF Plan 1 Retirement System” name. As long as there is no change in the name, our LEOFF 1 Medical Benefits and Trust Fund should be protected. If there is a merger, it could pose a serious threat to your LEOFF 1 Medical Benefits and Trust Fund.

With the LEOFF 1 Trust Fund funded at 131%, the Legislature will take the money and I don’t see a way to stop it, except to sue them.

Click here to read SB 5983.

Click here to read about a LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 Merger.


IMPORTANT BILL TO WATCH: SB 5983

This bill would improve the local Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement System Benefits Account by transferring $300 million from the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Fund. This would still leave the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Fund at 106% over funded.

“An act relating to the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ plan 2 pension system; amending RCW 41.26.802 and 41.26.805; creating a new section; repealing RCW 41.26.800; and declaring an emergency.

“Therefore, the legislature declares that it is the purpose of this act to hasten the affordability of law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ plan 2 benefit improvements, consistent with the intent associated with the creation of the benefits improvement fund, and designate reserves of the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ plan 2 for the sole purpose of benefit improvements.

“On July 1, 2019, the state treasurer shall transfer the sum of three hundred million dollars from the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ plan 2 retirement fun to the local law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ retirement system benefits improvement account.”

Click here to read SB 5983.

Click here to read about the LEOFF 2 Benefit Improvement Account.

Click here to read about a LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 Merger.


Bill Dickinson testifies on HB 2051

2051 testimony

HB 2051 allows any active or retired firefighter or law enforcement officer who resides within the jurisdiction served by the board to be elected to a pre-LEOFF and LEOFF Plan 1 disability board, if no eligible active or retired firefighter or law enforcement officer is willing or able.

Click here to watch the testimony on TVW.org.

Click here to read the complete document.

Joyce Willms Testifies on SB 5920

5920 testimony

SB 5920 expands eligibility of who can serve on firefighter and law enforcement officer pension and disability boards to include active or retired firefighters or law enforcement officers residing in the district yet not subject to the jurisdiction of the board, when no eligible firefighter and law enforcement officer is willing or able to be elected.

Click here to watch the testimony on TVW.org.

Click here to read the complete document.

Joyce Willms testifies on SB 5894 - 2/18/19

5894 testimony

SB 5894 allows the firefighter's pension levy to continue to be levied specifically for funding medical benefits under the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system.

Click here to watch the testimony on TVW.org.

Click here to read the complete document.

Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting, December 11 - 10:00am

LEOFF I and Prior Act Disability Board -
Click here to watch the meeting on TVW.org.

bill-dickinson-at-meetingjoyce-willms-at-meeting

The Committee on Pension Policy has before it two proposals. One seeks to solve a reported concern that there are not adequate active or retired law enforcement officers and firefighters to staff local pension and disability boards. The one example cites the City of Edmonds. The do have a LEOFF I Disability Board, but the City simply chooses not to institute a legacy pension board under RCW 41.16. That situation does not appear to support the notion that there is a shortage of qualified active or retired firefighters, but I can certainly see the potential that over time, there could be a lack of active or retired law enforcement officers and/or firefighters to staff said boards. In cities such as Edmonds, another solution is to allow the contracted firefighters to sit on the board since they are in fact still providing the same fire service to the city except it is by contract. This would be an easy legislative fix as well. I would point out though, as time passes there will shortly be no legacy retirees left to be served by legacy boards so draft bill ”A” would solve the needs of providing adequate back-up while addressing the need and desire for local control I mentioned a moment ago. It makes sense to keep local agency staff and retirees involved in the jurisdictional decisions which affect them. In the complete absence of active or retired personnel for a jurisdiction, allowing other law enforcement officers and/or firefighters, active or retired personnel to serve as a back-up resource makes common sense with a logical progression of prioritization. (and you KNOW that law enforcement officers and firefighters love a back-up plan……). My only concern with draft “A” is the use of the term “This includes active and retired firefighters…. law enforcement officers” which seems to suggest that non-Washington are not excluded. It is okay to expand the allowance of retirees from some other Washington municipality, but it would not be acceptable to allow board candidates coming from all-together outside of our retirement system.

The second proposed piece of legislation completely fails to give priority to the local jurisdictions and their employees, be they active or retired, and simply allows any ex-law enforcement officer or firefighter to run for the local board regardless of where they come from. I submit that new persons in the community are likely not to be familiar with the history, community values, or public sentiment of the new community into which they have moved. In fact, the legislation as written would allow any retired law enforcement officer and/or firefighter to serve even if they came from California or New York. Clearly, out of state retirees have no history or understanding of Washington State law much less, the LEOFF retirement system. This would allow people to run for the board who bring an incomplete and perhaps even biased background based on their training and experience in other states which are not comparable to the State of Washington. In sum, this would clearly NOT serve the interests of the retirees much less the local communities served by those retirees. Legislative option “B” does NOT have our support.

On behalf of the LEOFF 1 coalition, I ask that the Committee consider rejecting legislative option “B”. We do, however, offer the Coalition’s support of Legislative Option “A” amended as I have suggested. This gives priority to maintaining the system that has been in place and served well throughout the State for decades, while providing a back-up measure that would assure the continuation of these public service pension and disability boards until such time as there are no Prior Act retirees left to serve.

I thank you for the opportunity to provide our input on this matter for your consideration.


Washington State 2016 Actuarial Valuation of LEOFF 1 Medical Benefits

2016 state actuarial valuation of leoff 1 medical benefits

Click here to read the document.

LEOFF 1 Disability Board Best Practices

leoff1-resource-guide

Click here to read the complete document.

A Booming Economy Won’t Make Next State Budget Less Taxing

Gov Jay Inslee

Click here to read more.


LEOFF Plan 1 Disability Benefits

Click here for information on your Disability Benefits.
Or click here to view the pdf version.

Click here to read RCW 41.26.150.

Remember: Your Disability Board is where you retired from.

All LEOFF 1 members must sign up for medicare. Click here to go to the Medicare website and sign up, if you haven't already.

Medicare Coverage Outside the United States is Limited! Click here to find out more

LEOFF Plan 1 disability benefits.

Check with your disability board regarding your medical coverage outside the United States.

Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement System RCW 41.26.030

Many members have been calling on what medical services they can receive. Please section 19 of this RCW, and please note subsection I:


(19) "Medical services" for plan 1 members, shall include the following as minimum services to be provided. Reasonable charges for these services shall be paid in accordance with RCW 41.26.150.

  • (a) Hospital expenses: These are the charges made by a hospital, in its own behalf, for
  • (i) Board and room not to exceed semiprivate room rate unless private room is required by the attending physician due to the condition of the patient.
  • (ii) Necessary hospital services, other than board and room, furnished by the hospital.
  • (b) Other medical expenses: The following charges are considered "other medical expenses," provided that they have not been considered as "hospital expenses".
  • (i) The fees of the following:
    • (A) A physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 18.71 RCW;
    • (B) An osteopathic physician and surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 18.57 RCW;
    • (C) A chiropractor licensed under the provisions of chapter 18.25 RCW.
      • (ii) The charges of a registered graduate nurse other than a nurse who ordinarily resides in the member's home, or is a member of the family of either the member or the member's spouse.
      • (iii) The charges for the following medical services and supplies:
    • (A) Drugs and medicines upon a physician's prescription;
    • (B) Diagnostic X-ray and laboratory examinations;
    • (C) X-ray, radium, and radioactive isotopes therapy;
    • (D) Anesthesia and oxygen;
    • (E) Rental of iron lung and other durable medical and surgical equipment;
    • (F) Artificial limbs and eyes, and casts, splints, and trusses;
    • (G) Professional ambulance service when used to transport the member to or from a hospital when injured by an accident or stricken by a disease;
    • (H) Dental charges incurred by a member who sustains an accidental injury to his or her teeth and who commences treatment by a legally licensed dentist within ninety days after the accident;
    • (I) Nursing home confinement or hospital extended care facility;
    • (J) Physical therapy by a registered physical therapist;
    • (K) Blood transfusions, including the cost of blood and blood plasma not replaced by voluntary donors;
    • (L) An optometrist licensed under the provisions of chapter 18.53 RCW.
    Click here to read the complete RCW.

LEOFF Plan 1 Handbook


Click here to read the LEOFF Plan 1 Handbook.

Behind Seattle’s rising pension costs: Past mismanagement adds to taxpayers’ burden

The Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System had one of the worst investment returns of any large public pension over a decade, triggering higher costs for the city and taxpayers. Behind the system’s struggles: allegations ranging from mismanagement to misconduct.Click here to read the article.



Click the image to view it larger.


COLAs for LEOFF Plan 1

Effective April 1, 2018

Below is a table for the LEOFF Plan 1 COLA as of April 1, 2018. To see all COLA percentages, click here.



Washington State Retirement Systems and Pension Funding

Click here to read the full document.

For information on LEOFF 1, see pages 16, 17, 23, 31, 32, 33, and 34.

Use Increased State Revenue to Reduce Unfunded Pension Liabilities

Washington State Capital

Click here to read the article.

LEOFF 1 Coalition December 2017 Newsletter

Click here to read the newsletter.

Want to receive the newsletter in the mail? Join the LEOFF 1 Coalition here!

Pension and Investments

Washington state high court rules pension benefit reductions are constitutional
Click here for more details.

The LEOFF 1 Coalition website contains some files that come in a "pdf" format which requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader in order to view and search through the documents. If you don't already have it, you can download it here.  It's free from Adobe.

Adobe

Keep Track with What's Happening at the Capital!

Washington State Wire - Click Here!

The Olympian: Politics/Government - Click Here!

The Seattle Times: Olympia Politics - Click Here!

The News Tribune: Politics & Government - Click Here!

The Columbian: Politics - Click Here!

The Spokesman: Washington Politics - Click Here!

Legislator Information!
Click the links below for
more information.

Swisher v. City of Moses Lake Case letter from Joe Fischnaller, Atty - Click here

Finding of Fact Conclusions of Law and Order - case document filed Feb. 5, 2010 - Click here

Order of Motion for Summer Judgement - case document filed Oct. 9, 2009 - Click here

Superior Court of Washington for Grant County, Elvis T. Swisher vs City of Moses Lake - July 7, 2008 - Click here

State Legislators

Please read this
Bakenhus Decision 1956

RETIREMENT LAWS
of the
WASHINGTON LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
and
FIREFIGHTERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM.

Original 1970 Manual
Click here to read.


Medical Benefits For Plan1 Members
Wa.St. RCW 41.26.030 Section 19
Last Updated March 2017


Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Plan 1 Hand Book

Contact - 1-800-547-6657
Last Updated March 2017


Department of Retirement Systems

Leoff1 Plan Disability Benefits
Click Here

Leoff1 Plan Disability Board Guidelines
Click Here


What To Do When
A Death Occurs

Click Here

Contact - 1-800-547-6657 ext.47081


Washington State Department of Retirement Systems
360.664.7000
800.547.6657
WEBSITE


Annual Inflation
Click Here
Last Updated March 2014


Lifetime Retirement
Planning Frequently
Asked Questions

Click Here
Contact - 1-800-547-6657Last Updated 2010


For more government information and phone numbers, Click Here!


Social Security
Main Website: http://www.ssa.gov
Find an Office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp
Contact: 1-800-772-1213
TTY: 1-800-352-0778

Veteran’s Benefits
After Death Occurs

Benefits:
1-800-827-1000

Health Care:
1-877-222-VETS (8387)

VA Inspector General:
1-800-488-8244

Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)