First Major

by Council 2 Deputy Director Pat Thompson on March 23, 2015
The Legislature is designed around various cutoff dates. At a minimum all bills face at least seven hurdles before they become law. Each hurdle has a deadline attached to it. The first major deadline was the “House of Origin” cutoff. If a bill wasn’t voted on by the cutoff, it’s supposed to be dead, but dead is a relative term in Olympia. A wise man (Sam Kinville) once told me “They make the rules, they can change the rules.”
Generally speaking, the cutoff was good news for our Union.
The vast majority of really bad policy bills didn’t make it out of the Senate. Those bills include:
SB 5329 – Would require that all Union negotiations be done in public. That’s right, out of all the negotiations that are done by cities and counties only the labor negotiations would be subject to a public meeting requirement. It should be noted that all labor contracts are subject to public debate as part of the current process.
SB 5602 – Would prohibit release time for public employees who participate in negotiations or act as stewards for their local union. Most of our contracts have clauses that allow for employees to participate in certain union activities at no loss of pay.
SB 5045 – Would require a yearly vote on Union Security! This is a barely veiled right-to-work measure that would allow open shops and force the Union to recertify its membership annually.
SB 5982 – (Senator Braun R – 20th District) Would increase the normal retirement age to 67 years for new employees (only because they can’t do it to current employees under our State’s Supreme Court Decision). Our Union has long advocated that 30 years should equal a career and this measure would force the normal retirement age beyond the reach for many of our members.
SB 6005 – (Senator Braun again) Would cap the pension calculation at the State’s average annual wage currently $52,635. Again for all new hires. This is completely arbitrary

and would dramatically cut pension benefits for thousands of public employees. Not surprisingly, it’s aimed only at PERS, TERS, PSERS, and the Higher Education plan, not the Legislators themselves, Judges, Fire or Police.
Both these bills undermine the health of the entire system, currently the 4th best managed system in the Country. The money that the above bills will take out of the system will lower the investment returns. Remember, 80% of the benefits paid out are due to investment returns of the contributions.
Please contact the following Senators and ask them NOT to support SB 5982 or SB 6005.
Andy Hill                      
John Braun                  
Bruce Dammeier         
Jim Honeyford             
Jim Hargrove               
Karen Keiser               
Kevin Ranker              
Barbara Bailey            
Randi Becker              
Andy Billig                  
Sharon Brown            
Steve Conway            
Karen Fraser              
Bob Hasegawa          
Brian Hatfield             
Mike Hewitt                
Jeanne Kohl-Welles   
Steve O’Ban               
Mike Padden              
Linda Evans Parlette  
Christine Rolfes          
Mark Schoesler          
Judy Warnick