December 13th 2017

LEOFF I Coalition’s Work on Behalf of Your Pension


Andy Wilson, President Dave Peery, Secretary Mark Curtis, Lobbyist Joyce Willms, Lobbyist

Andy Wilson, President

Dave Peery, Secretary

Mark Curtis, Lobbyist

Joyce Willms, Lobbyist

President of LEOFF I Coalition, Andy Wilson, Secretary, Dave Peery, and Lobbyist, Joyce Willms, lobbied 90 percent of the House of Representatives and 20 percent of the Senate. When speaking to legislators, they all knew LEOFF I Coalition and what we lobby on: no mergers, no access to LEOFF 1 Pension Funds without LEOFF 1 member approval and protecting the LEOFF I Law Enforcement and Retirement Trust Fund. Our concern, simply stated, is don’t balance the state budget on the backs of old, retired Law Enforcement officers and fire fighters who worked to protect you and your family. U.S. Representative Dave Reichert was instrumental in preventing any attempt at pension mergers and trust fund sweeps during the 2017 legislative session. Reichert’s phone calls and communications to the State Legislators helped to protect the LEOFF Plan 1. LEOFF 1 Coalition is grateful for Rep. Riechert’s continued support. Thanks to Senator Miloscia (R) and Senator Fortunato (R) no merger or fund raid was introduced for 2017..


2017

Senate Republican, John Braun, Budget Negotiator, made merger attempts in the third special session and Senate Republicans Ways and Means continued to make merger attempts. The LEOFF 1 Coalition lobbied early, having the support of the State Legislators for no mergers, as well as the help of LEOFF 1 Members and related member organizations.

There were eight legislators on the Budget Negotiating Team. Senator John Braun was one of the members and he made one last attempt at the end of the third special session to facilitate a merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 and LEOFF 1 and TRS (Teachers Retirement System Plan 1) stating that it would be necessary in order to implement the State Operating Budget. With no support from the budget negotiators, thanks largely to our lobbying efforts and those of our Legislative friends, the subject died immediately (within three minutes).

The Senate Republicans Ways and Means made merger attempts with LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 and LEOFF 1 and TRS. The Senate Republicans and Ways and Means tried to make a deal with the Retired Teachers to support the LEOFF 1 merger. The Washington Retired Teachers have ethics and said no, it is wrong to pit retirement groups against each other.


 

2016

SB 6668 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and related member organizations)

Merger with LEOFF 1 and the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) Plan 1 would reduce the State contributions to pay the unfunded liability in TRS Plan 1.


SB 6246 (raid of LEOFF I funds was killed with a striking amendment)

Making 2016 Supplementary Operating Appropriations. LEOFF 1 Coalition lobbyists Mark Curtis and Joyce Willms pulled Senators from the floor session to kill the bill, which resulted in a striking amendment and went to the Select Committee on Pension Policy for study.


HB 5873 (The Coalition lobbied and passed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

Permitting LEOFF I members from the Law Enforcement Officers’ and Firefighters’ Retirement System Plan 1 to select a survivor benefit options.


HB 2487 (The Coalition lobbied and passed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

Allowing certain Washington State Patrol Retirement System and Law Enforcement Officers’ and Firefighters' members to purchase annuities.


2015

SB 5873 (The Coalition lobbied for the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations) No Hearing in the House.

The bill would have allowed a retiree under the Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement Plan 1 to select a survivor benefit option. The amendment would have allowed a member who married a spouse ineligible for survivor benefits, unless the retiree was married to that spouse for at least two years prior to September 1, 2015.


 

2013

SB 5916 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

City managers who wanted to push top paid LEOFF 1 members into retirement so they could be replaced with younger officers subject to benefit packages that did not include medical coverage. The bill never made it to the floor.


2012

HB 2350 and SB 6563 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

A merger with LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 would allow the state to skip a $74 million payment to LEOFF 2 pension thus helping the Senate Democrats’ to balance the budget.


 

2011

HB 2097 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and attorneys)

Merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 was introduced. House Bill 2097 proposed merging LEOFF Plan 2 with LEOFF Plan 1, temporarily reducing the State contribution to the merged plan. The LEOFF 1 Coalition hired attorney Joe Fischnaller with his knowledge of LEOFF 1 Medical benefits. It died.


2008

LEOFF 1 Coalition filed a law suit in Superior Court of Washington for Grant County, Swisher plaintiff vs. City of Moses Lake for not paying medical benefits. Law Office of Joe Fischnaller. LEOFF 1 Coalition won the lawsuit.  (The LEOFF 1 Coalition and related member organizations joined together to win this law suit and to further establish medical coverage practices under LEOFF 1 regulations.)


 

2006

SB 2688 (The Coalition lobbied to stop the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations and Governor Gregoire vetoed the section added to HB 2688.)

The House added the Section Substitute HB 2688 that local governments face challenges in providing health care benefits for LEOFF 1 retired members of the Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement System Plan 1. They tried to pass the bill to allow local governments access to the LEOFF 1 Fund to meet the financial challenges.

LEOFF I Coalition Education Seminars

Speakers, Joe Fischnaller, attorney, and Dan Downs, retired firefighter, battalion chief and member of the city of Richland Fireman’s Pension Board, volunteered their time and traveled the state of Washington educating LEOFF I members and spouses of their pension benefits.


 

2003

SB 5099 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

A governance of pensions now known as the “Select Committee on Pension Policy”.

The Coalition opposed this bill, to include us in this group for Defined Benefit systems, as the word “Defined Benefit”, never appeared in our law at inception.

Our view is that we are not a “Defined Benefit”, and should be a stand alone pension system to protect our system.


 

2001

SB 6166 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

This bill would have terminated LEOFF 1 pension plan. LEOFF 1 Coalition hired hired the Law Offices of Hagens Berman.

LEOFF 1 Coalition filed a class action complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court of Washington in Thurston County and for Thurston County Alfred tems Class. The purpose was to protect the LEOFF 1 Fund which included the surplus and are, by design, assets held in Trust and which may only be used for the exclusive benefit of LEOFF 1 members or their beneficiaries under RCW 41.26.040(3)


 

2000

SB 6166 (The Coalition lobbied and killed the bill with the help of LEOFF 1 Members and member organizations)

This bill would have terminated the LEOFF 1 Pension Plan and opened pension law to and turned LEOFF 1 into a defined benefit/defined contribution system when it never was. It was supposed to “guarantee” soundness, but we already had that benefit established in the 1969 legislation. If the state and local representatives were permitted to divert public pension funds to other uses, tax payers of the state would inevitably be faced with future tax increases to meet their legally binding pension responsibilities.