RPEC Weekly ACTION Newsletter – February 3, 2017
Plan 1 COLA Bills
Last Thursday (1/26) we had an excellent hearing on the Plan 1 COLA bill (HB 1484). RPEC members and retired teachers showed up in full force and offered excellent testimony in support of the bill. Here is the link to watch the hearing on our website. We are working with our prime sponsor Olympia Representative Laurie Dolan to move the bill through the Appropriations committee and onto the House Rules Committee.
We are pleased to have a strong bipartisan Plan 1 COLA Senate companion bill SB 5556 cosponsored by four Democrats and four Republicans. The lobby team and RPEC members are urging the Senate Ways and Means committee to hear SB 5556.
We will be having our second State Legislature Call-In Day on Tuesday, February 7. We will be sending an Action Alert email with the details on Monday, February 6.
There is no set date for the Senate to release their budget, though it is possible that it may be release as early as the beginning of March, though perhaps many weeks later. We continue to have conversations with budget leaders about the inclusion of PEBB Medicare subsidy restoration and a Plan 1 COLA in the Senate and House budgets. Given the tough fiscal climate, legislators are very cautious to not over-commit.
Currently the proposed state budget has the PEBB Medicare benefit set at $150. It is our goal to have the benefit restored to $182.50.
White House Undermines Retirement Savers
For the last two years, RPEC has been a part of a national coalition pushing the enactment of a federal rule requiring brokers to act as “fiduciaries,” or in their clients’ best interests, when they are advising them about their individual retirement accounts and 401K plans. It was finally enacted in 2016, against angry protests from the financial sector, who were required to stop getting kickbacks for putting their client’s money in particular funds without getting the clients’ approval. Those “kickbacks” were costing Americans an estimated $17 billion per year.
President Trump is issuing an executive order halting the implementation of this rule today and asking the Labor Department to determine whether the rule should be revised or be scrapped altogether, according to the White House, because it will cost the financial industry too much to implement. “We are asking President Trump to rescind his order and instead support this rule to ensure that hard working Americans who save can keep more of what they earn,” states Maria Britton-Sipe, Executive Director of Retired Public Employees Council of Washington. “We are currently facing a retirement security crisis as fewer American’s even have access to retirement savings vehicles, and this is a small way that we can protect and enhance retirement savings.”
RPEC Legislative Day 2017
We are quickly approaching the deadline for registration for our annual RPEC Legislative Day. We, as a unified voice, will descend on the Capitol to visit our legislators to inform them about our issues and encourage them to support those issues.
The registration deadline is February 10th. We are having a Legislative Reception on March 7th from 6pm-8pm at the Hotel Red Lion in Olympia, where several of your legislators will be on hand for a meet & greet. The RPEC Legislative Day is on March 8th with a breakfast followed by an informative meeting about our issues featuring talking points and speakers starting at 8am, also at the Hotel Red Lion in Olympia. After that, members will then proceed to the Capitol to meet with their legislators.
Here is a link to the list of bills currently of focus to RPEC: http://www.rpecwa.org/bill-summary-2-03-2017/
As you can see, we have much work to do in the weeks and months ahead to continue the betterment of your retirement security. Your continued support and political action is a necessity!
Your Voice for Retirement Security!