The new session of the Legislature will commence on 1/11/2021. This is a three-month session and will be unique in that it will be mostly virtual via the Zoom platform. Many of you may have been using this to meet with grand kids and relatives during the Covid plague. Otherwise, it is fairly simple to use and it will be necessary to learn it if you want to testify before a legislative committee.
If you want to testify you must first sign-up to do so. You will then be given access to a “Zoom room” where you will login and then wait until you are called. The committee chairperson will select those who may testify and the order of testimony. If you do not want to go through this process you can submit your testimony via mail or email. If you just want to inform you legislator about your position on a bill you can always call directly or through the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000.
The good news is you will probably not need to contact your legislators relative to LEOFF 1 issues this session. So far, we know of no proposals impacting LEOFF 1 and have no rumors of any in planning.
You might notice that the headline for this article speaks of a roller coaster ride. You may have received the latest fund raiser (Newsletter) from the LEOFF 1 Coalition where this headline was featured on the front page. Actually, they say, “Hang On! This Session is Going to be a Roller Coaster Ride”. Since this was news to me, I carefully read the entire newsletter to find out what is going to happen. Guess what, there is no mention of anything planned or going to happen in this session. Based on their news it appears to be more of a “Merry Go Round” than a “Roller Coaster”.
That said, we still must remain ever vigilant as the major attacks on our pension have all come without warning. We will keep you informed of developments.
This year’s newsletter runs on for twenty pages. Most is simply cut and paste information from the DRS website and, while it may be useful for reference, it is of little current interest as it simply repeats information already available. What is of interest is some indication of major changes within the Coalition. We had met with Bill Dickinson earlier in the year and were delighted to see the Coalition move to a membership organization. Unfortunately, that move did not give LEOFF 1 members any voice. Rather it just created a new way to collect their money. As of today, the Coalition has a new president, Dennis Hooper; a new vice president, Andy Wilson; a new secretary, John Zimmaro; and new treasurer, Helen Suprenant. Paul Johnson and Joe May have let the board and Bill Dickinson has resigned from the board and as president. That is a lot of turn over.
What is curious and interesting is that the Coalition made no notice of the changes, never opened for nominations, and conducted no membership balloting for the positions. So, that means there is no change. If you are a Coalition “member” you have no say in setting the policies of your organization or choosing who runs it. Everything is vested in the board.
At LEOFF1.Net this has been our major objection to the Coalition because they present themselves as representing LEOFF 1 members but actually only represent the six people on their board.
Currently hey have about 1,400 members. They used to claim 4,000. So, no one really knows the number. It appears the new membership contributions have helped them financially. I guess that so long as their members are willing to forfeit any input that this system works for them. It just seems that if you are going to pay $60/year you should at least be able to vote for your board.
Unfortunately, the Coalition newsletter appears to try to frighten folks, particularly surviving spouse. It has several errors and misstatements. Just to make certain we cover everything we will not address those issue just yet.
Enjoy your merry-go-round/roller coaster. More to follow.Follow us on Facebook