Call for a VETO on SB6617

Now is the time to contact the Governor and your legislators and insist they stop SB6617.

The following is an excerpt from an article dealing with a similar action on the part of the legislature to fast track a bill and limit discovery and debate.  When we filed a request for discovery we were told that the legislature was exempt and that our request would not be met.

There are a number of interesting side notes to this.  The lead person was Senator Schoesler.  He was quite upset in a SCPP Executive Session when he heard of the public disclosure request and demanded to know who had put it forward.

The bottom line for us was that the bill was ultimately killed in the next session but we still consider it a threat. The original article in full can be viewed at

Excerpt from Article

We have been promised by individual legislators and staff members that we would be alerted when legislation is considered that might impact our pension plan.  Each time something like this comes up they all say, “This is the first I have heard of it.”

Now we have SB 6668. A LEOFF I merger bill, was introduced early Wednesday morning (February 24, 2016).  The bill if passed, would have merged the LEOFF I retirement system with Teachers (TERS I) retirement system.

Of course no one knew anything about it before February 24th and we were expected to believe that a couple of senators scribbled it out on a cocktail napkin on the 23rd.  In the spirit of good stakeholder relations we were invited to meet with the Senate Ways and Means Committee staff on March 1st at 10 AM.   The staff lawyer explained the bill and argued how it was all legal.  (In total contradiction to what our own lawyers were advising.)

Then we were advised that a hearing had been scheduled for March 2nd at 8:00 AM. Of course their goal was to slide this bill through as a budget bill with little fanfare.  Much to their surprise we overfilled the hearing room with only 20 hours of notice.

Now, after a difficult fight, that bill is dead but scheduled to be resurrected in the next session.  We are studying it and we are finding out a bit more about the back room shenanigans surrounding this bill.

It was hardly developed on a cocktail napkin.  In June of 2013 (June 13, 2013) a law firm that advises the state on tax issues wrote to Aaron Gutierrez of the State Actuary’s office discussing SB2806.3/13 3rd Draft.  This was a legal review of a LEOFF 1/TRS 1 merger proposal already in its third draft stage by March 2013.

Of course we had been assured that no merger was being considered.  I guess they meant to say that no merger plan was being put forward as a bill.  We can’t find out who was lying to us, but we do know that the State Actuary provides services to the Ways and Means committee as well as the Select Committee on Pension Policy.  Senators that sit on both committees were well aware of our interest and concern and yet had assured us there was no merger plan on the horizon.  Also, we do recognize that staff is limited as to what they can say, but they can craft an answer that does not reveal secret knowledge without claiming no knowledge.  A simple “I can’t discuss that.” would suffice.

Then on April 23, 2015 there was another Ice Miller review of the same bill with a different number.  Same story:  No plans for a merger bill.  Then in February 2016 SB 6668 was introduced.  And, it was introduced in a way designed to suppress our lobbying response.  But, nobody knew anything about a merger bill.

That proposed bill has lots of problems and generated a lot of questions.  Over 1,400 surveys were submitted and thousands of questions asked during the review process.  As of September 18, 2016 no questions have been answered.

For example one of the more common questions is how was the $5,000 payout to beneficiaries determined?  A simple question but no one knows the answer.  We see it as a bribe and we are pretty convinced that someone knows because someone wrote it into the bill. It would seem to be a pretty simple task to have the Actuary’s office call the sponsors and ask them to answer the question.  But, no one knows and we are supposed to believe it.

So, we had a bill crafted in secret over a three year period and presented in a way that was intended to push it through without any effective comment from the stakeholders.

The new public disclosure legislation is designed to further limit the ability of stakeholder to even comment on legislative proposals.  It should be vetoed by the Governor and legislators should block any attempt to override th veto.

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