Friday, May 24, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, April 19, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, April 19, 2024

SCPP Adopts Ongoing COLA Study Timeline

On Tuesday, April 16, the Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) laid out a timeline to study and recommend a proposal to restore an automatic ongoing cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for PERS 1 and TRS 1 retirees. Since 2010, PERS 1 and TRS 1 are the only retirement systems managed by Washington State to not receive automatic ongoing COLAs. Thanks to a bill that RPEC helped pass in 2023, the SCPP is required to develop a proposal and recommend it to the legislature by the end of this calendar year.

On May 21, the committee will receive an initial briefing from staff and determine the scope of the research that will be undertaken. At the June 18 and July 16 meetings, the committee will have policy discussions and address questions that will help frame some of the possible outcomes. On September 17, the Office of the State Actuary will present actuarial analysis that will estimate the costs associated with proposals.

Ahead of the April 16 meeting, RPEC joined Washington Education Association, Washington State School Retirees Association, and Public School Employees of Washington in signing a letter to the SCPP requesting that PERS 1 and TRS 1 retirees receive the same ongoing COLA benefit that other public employee pension plans receive.

The SCPP opted to delay committee officer elections until May, as no eligible members were prepared to serve as committee chair. Statute requires that the next committee chair be one of the four senators on the committee, as a member of the House is the current chair. Although not required by statute, the committee traditionally passes chairpersonship between Democrats and Republicans, meaning that the next chair will likely be a Senate Republican. It is possible that one of the two Senate Republicans on the committee will step down to allow an available Senator to serve as chair.

Since the SCPP last met in December of 2023, House Appropriations Committee Chair Representative Timm Ormsby (D, Spokane) stepped down from the SCPP and was replaced by Representative Nicole Macri (D, Seattle). All other members returned to the committee, including retiree representative and RPEC member Bev Hermanson.

RPEC and a coalition of other public employee retiree groups will work closely with the SCPP this interim to advocate for the best possible ongoing COLA proposal for retirees. SCPP materials and meeting login information can be accessed via the SCPP website.

RPEC Leadership Training – SAVE THE DATE!

Are you interested in being a future leader for your chapter or serving on RPEC’s Executive Board? Are you a newly elected or re-elected chapter officer? We encourage any member who is interested in or is curious to know more about leadership to attend RPEC’s annual virtual Leadership Training.  This training is necessary for all re-elected and new chapter officers.

This will be a 2-part training on Zoom: Leadership Training, led by the Council Office on June 10th, and the AFSCME Financial Standards Training on June 14th. The registration deadline is May 17th.

Register here: https://2024.rpecwa.org/2024-leadership-training/

The training has been revamped to align with the new Strategic Plan implemented by the Executive Board, and will cover topics including: RPEC’s organizational structure, effectively communicating with your chapter, interacting with and recruiting potential members, mobilizing your chapter for legislative advocacy, running successful meetings, and more. The tools and content for the training are updated and improved upon each year, so please plan to participate even if you have already done so in the past.

To the leaders who are maintaining their position of office, we look forward to continuing our work with you. To those that are new to leadership, welcome, and we hope you are as excited as we are about the path ahead of you. With a strong foundation of chapter leaders, there is no limit to what RPEC can accomplish.

RPEC Convention 2024

It’s an even-numbered year, and that means we are approaching our biennial convention in the fall. Our 49th RPEC Convention will be held in Wenatchee at the Wenatchee Convention Center from Tuesday, September 24 through Thursday, September 26.

The official Convention Call was mailed to all chapters at the beginning of March. If you are interested in attending the convention as a delegate of your chapter, please attend your chapter meetings over the next few months to get elected as an official delegate.

We’d love to see new faces, as well as familiar ones. There are several committees you can request to serve on for the convention. Simply let your chapter know of your interest when you are elected to be a delegate. Previous experience is not necessary and it’s a great opportunity to learn about the workings of convention and help determine RPEC’s path forward for the next two years.

We are currently planning to have great and informative speakers, have outstanding meals planned, and “fabulous” entertainment for our banquet. For more information, visit the convention page under Calendar & Events on our website at www.rpecwa.org.

Member-Only Benefit: Hear in America

Hearing loss can affect more than just your physical ability to hear and communicate effectively. It can also impact your mental and emotional health, your relationship with your partner or spouse, and your sense of independence and safety.

Be proactive with your preventative care by accessing hearing services through Hear in America! As an RPEC member, you can get reduced costs on hearing aids and $0 exam copays through Hear in America. A purchase of hearing aids includes additional perks, such as a 60-day money-back trial period for exchanges and returns, a 3-year repair warranty, 3-year loss and damage coverage, 3 years of hearing aid cleaning and check-up service, and 3 years of free batteries.

Getting started is simple. Call Hear in America using the phone number designated specifically for RPEC members: 1-855-254-6710

Upcoming Events:

Please refer to our calendar page for more information for each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.

  • April 25 – Membership Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • April 25 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • April 26 – Council Office closed, Team Retreat (9:30 am – 3:00 pm)
  • May 3 – Pension Policy Workgroup (10:00 am)
  • May 3 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • May 6 – Executive Board Meeting (9:00 am)
  • May 7 – Executive Board Meeting, Strategic Planning (9:00 am)
  • May 9 – Public Employees Benefits Board (9:00 am)
  • May 9 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • May 17 – Leadership Training Registration Deadline
  • May 20 – Political Action Committee (10:00 am)
  • May 21 – Select Committee on Pension Policy (10:00 am)
  • May 23 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)

Your Voice for Retirement Security!

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