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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, July 12, 2013

Little action on city personnel issues

The division among party lines between the two legislative bodies meant that in spite of a lot of talk about potential reforms or changes in workers compensation, not many proposals passed this year in the personnel arena. Personnel costs continue to be a major cost driver for cities. During the past session, AWC continued to work on making modest changes to binding interest arbitration to allow consideration of a jurisdiction’s ability to pay with SB 5733. However, the bill did not advance despite interest in the Senate due to opposition from the uniformed services and a sense that the proposal would not have any traction in the House. We will continue to look for ways to make changes that will help cities control personnel costs in the coming session.

This spring the Associated Press ran a series of articles exposing alleged abuses in the LEOFF system related to pension spiking and disability board decisions. The Legislature responded with a bill to try to address the potential abuses, SB 5916. However, the bill was introduced late in the regular session and did not advance. We anticipate that the issue will come back up in the 2014 session and that the Select Committee on Pension Policy will look into the issue during the interim. Additionally, the Department of Retirement Systems is now looking at auditing cities with independent contractor agreements with LEOFF retirees to see if there are any inconsistencies with pension requirements.

BillTracker AWC priority Bill # Descriptive title Final status
    HB 1903 Allows an employer to request relief form benefit charges if they employ someone on a part time basis who is receiving unemployment benefits Law; Effective 1/1/2014
    SHB 1180 Increased lump-sum death benefits for survivors and dependent children of Volunteer Fire Fighters’ and Reserve Officers’ Relief Pension System. Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    SSB 5332 Changes the percentage of votes needed to approve benefit charges for fire protection districts. Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    SSB 5211 Related to social networking accounts, employers cannot request or coerce an employee or applicant to disclose personal login information Passed; Effective 7/28/2013
    SHB 1313 Establishing minimum standards for sick and safe leave Failed
    2SB 1440 Prohibits misclassification of employees, creates a new test for independent contractors Failed
    SHB 1457 Implementing family medical leave insurance Failed
    EHB 1891 Tasks the WISHA advisory committee with making recommendations on alignment of state and federal civil penalty requirements. Requires mandatory safety training for new employees of safety committees, Failed
    EHB 1923 Expanded those eligible for PSERS to include those who provide direct care, custody or safety to a certain population Failed
    SB 5112 Gives retrospective rating employers and groups authority to schedule medical exams, consultations and vocational assessments. Failed
    SB 5574 Failure to buckle up to be admissible in civil actions Failed
    SB 5668 Addressing the removal and discharge of peace officers, giving just cause for the employer Failed
    SB 5733 Adds criteria like budgetary constraints to what an interest arbitration panel must consider when making a determination Failed
    ESSB 5851 Creating an optional defined contribution retirement plan for public employees Failed
Other significant issue SSB 5916 Creates a calculation for excess compensation in regard to payments for overtime, bonuses, cash outs or lump-sum payments. Requires DRS to conduct onsite audits where LEOFF 1 member salary increased by more than 10%. Failed
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