Governor signs Manweller pension policy fix legislation

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed Rep. Matt Manweller’s pension policy legislation protecting public hospital districts from substantive costs. It also means a change in pension for some emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Manweller says House Bill 2202 fixes a discrepancy in the Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters (LEOFF) pension system regarding eligibility of EMTs and finds a solution to the potential large fiscal implications it would have on public hospital districts.

“We had to find a fix to the LEOFF pension law that addressed costs and a new definition for employees to fit into this pension system,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “We were able to work with stakeholder groups and reach an agreement that will save public hospital districts, including some in the Thirteenth District, a large amount of money.”

In 2005, some changes adopted allowed EMT’s to be part of the LEOFF pension system. In 2010, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) indicated there were possibly significant numbers of EMTs who were employed by Public Hospital Districts (PHDs) and became eligible for LEOFF Plan 2 in 2005 but had not been enrolled. The PHDs challenged this ruling because they could potentially be on the hook for past, present and future costs associated with the EMT’s being part of the LEOFF system.

“It is not uncommon for the Legislature to adopt changes to retirement plans. In this case, it was an oversight on eligibility requirements, but it could have been very expensive for the hospital districts,” Manweller said.

The legislation will narrow the definition of new EMT employees eligible for the LEOFF retirement system Plan 2 and modifies rules surrounding the purchase of service credit to help contain costs for the PHDs.

The 2017 regular legislative session ended on April 23. The Legislature is currently in a 30-day special session.


Washington State House Republican Communications