Sunday, February 25, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, January 5, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, January 5, 2024

Weekly Legislative Update Calls Resume January 12th

Are you interested in learning more about RPEC’s legislative work in Washington state? If so, please join us for the weekly Legislative Update Calls, which will be held every Friday from 2-3 p.m. via Zoom beginning on January 12th through the end of the legislative session in late March. During the weekly calls, staff will discuss key bills and member mobilization efforts, and will respond to members’ questions about legislation and the legislative process. Please plan to attend. The Zoom link is available on the calendar on the RPEC website at www.rpecwa.org.

Legislative Committees Assemble

The Washington State Legislature recently gathered in Olympia for Committee Assembly days. While the composition of many committees remains the same as last year, the Legislature has two new committee chairs due to the resignation of a Senator Christine Rolfes (D, Bainbridge Island) earlier this year.

Rolfes’ powerful position as Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee was filled by Senator June Robinson (D, Everett).  Rolfes’ Senate seat was filled by Representative Drew Hansen (D, Bainbridge Island), who gave up chairing the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee to move to the Senate.  Representative Jamila Taylor (D, Federal Way) replaced Hansen as Chair of the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee. Hansen’s House seat was filled by Greg Nance (D Bainbridge Island), who now serves on the Education Committee, the Postsecondary Education & Workforce Committee, and the Transportation Committee.

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Health Care Authority Unveils Culminating Listening Session Report

On December 22nd, the Health Care Authority (HCA) provided the Legislature and posted to the agency website the culminating report that summarizes the notes, findings, and policy changes that have or will result from retiree feedback gleaned during the many listening sessions and public forums held in spring 2023. The submission of this report to the Legislature was orchestrated by RPEC, in concert with the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Stakeholders’ Medicare Coalition, to increase the agency’s accountability to retiree stakeholders. During the last legislative session, RPEC and the coalition initiated a budget proviso that not only made this requirement of HCA but also required the agency to explore the availability of healthcare plans or options with benefits that are equal to or greater than Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) Classic but have more affordable premiums. The agency also completed this research.

Both reports are currently under review by RPEC’s Healthcare Workgroup (chaired by Matt Groshong, Chapter 3), Elyette Weinstein (Chapter 18) who serves as a voting member of the PEB Board, and Council Office staff.

The reports are available at HCA’s website.

Cut Your Expenses by Accessing RPEC’s Member-Only Benefits

As a member of RPEC, you have access to a wide variety of cost savings and discounts via RPEC’s member-only benefits. Through our affiliation with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), RPEC members have access to the benefits available on the AFSCME Advantage website (see steps below for how to access). Aside from AFSCME Advantage, members can also save money on dental and hearing services with Bright Now! Dental and Hear in America. To explore these benefits, visit our member-only benefits page at: https://rpecwa.org/member-only-benefits/. We know that having a fixed income means every cent counts, and that’s why members are encouraged to explore member-only benefits to save money on expenses. Get the most value out of your membership by accessing RPEC’s robust array of benefits.

To access AFSCME Advantage benefits:

  1. Contact RPEC Membership Coordinator Jakob Canup at (360) 352-8262 or jakob.canup@rpecwa.org.
  2. The Membership Coordinator will determine if AFSCME has assigned you an ID number.
    1. If you received an AFSCME Member Card in the mail, that would also have your ID number on it.
  3. If you haven’t been assigned an ID number, the Membership Coordinator will facilitate that.
  4. Once you have your AFSCME ID number, you can access AFSCME Advantage benefits here: https://www.afscme.org/member-resources/afscme-advantage.
  5. When prompted to provide the name of the organization you belong to, inform them you are a member of AFSCME Retirees Chapter 10 (RPEC).

Upcoming Events:

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

  • Jan. 8 – Start of Legislative Session
  • Jan. 11 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Jan. 12 – Legislative Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Jan. 13 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Jan. 15 – Council Office Closed, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Jan. 19 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Jan. 22-26 – Legislative Week, Virtual
  • Jan. 25 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Jan. 26 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Feb. 1 – Membership Committee Meeting (10:00 am, rescheduled from Jan. 25)
  • Feb. 2 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Feb. 8 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Feb. 9 – Legislative Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Feb. 9 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)

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