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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FOR FALL 2021

Like the students you had in class, the legislature gets back to work the autumn. Policymakers and advocacy groups are now busy preparing for the 2022 Legislative Session starting January 10. Legislators can pre-file bills as early as December 13, so bill action will be starting roughly 70 days.

WSSRA is purchasing new legislative software – Voter Voice. It will automatically identify the legislative districts of our members. In the next legislative session have a special page on our website where WSSRA members can compose a legislative message and the computer program will send it to the appropriate legislators. Training and demonstrations will be available closer to the legislative session.

The WSSRA State Legislative Committee will be hosting four legislative training sessions. The sessions are in-lieu of the convention legislative committee breakout session and all WSSRA members are invited. If you would like to join any of the sessions, please shoot me an email at peter@wssra.org. The four sessions are:

  • Legislative Committee & unit legislative chair training. Legislative, political, and state budget update. Lobbying tips. Friday, October 1 at 10:00 am.
  • WSSRA Voter Voice software preview. Briefing on the state’s pension plans and public policy issues facing the state’s pension plans. Friday, October 8 at 10:00 am.
  • Legislative process and the state budget process. How does a bill become a law at the legislature? How is it funded in appropriations? The how-to guide that was skipped in your civics class. Friday, October 15 at 10:00 am.
  • Congressional process and the federal budget process. What is budget reconciliation? How is the federal process different from the state legislature? What is wrong with those people? Friday, October 22 at 10:00 am.

Each session will be recorded for your viewing convenience.

Best wishes from the WSSRA Office,

Peter Diedrick, WSSRA Legislative Director

Calendar Items: Important dates with Health and Retirement Information !

  1. 2022 PEBB Medicare and Pre-Medicare Retiree Rates: On October 26th 9 a.m to 10:15 a.m. A representative will discuss rate or plan changes on a zoom meeting.
  2. Retirement planning Part 1.The DRS system, Health Care Authority PEBB will be discussed on October 28th from 4:30 p.m. To 6:30 p.m.
  3. On November 4th 4:30 p.m. To 6:30 p.m. Retirement Planning Part 2 will continue with a basic review on Social Security/Medicare and VEBA.
  4. November 9th 4:30 p.m. To 5:45. A New Employee Retirement Planning Seminar will focus on Plan 2 and 3 staff. Which should you choose?

These are all areas of interest to many of our members. There will be zoom information out soon for those that are interested in joining. Contact any board officer if interested.

Two other timely items are of note as the school year begins. First, the new Long-term care act goes live in January. Any wage earner not holding a pre-existing long-term care insurance plan in hand will pay 58 cents of every $100 earned ($580 for a $100,00 income) into a fund to pay for this new program. Details are listed on the WSSRA website under the “Current News” tab.

Second, the costs of Uniform Medical as a PEBB Medicare Supplement for 2022 will increase from $336 to $364 per month for a single subscriber. This increase may cause retirees to consider switching to other PEBB sponsored programs that are cheaper. November is the only monthto complete any switch. To get everyone current information join the webinar on October 26th. Detailed information on this webinar see the top item under the “Events” tab on the WSSRA website.

Informative Webinars for Active and Retired School Employees!

Check out WSSRA.org under the tab WSSRA Current News and Projects:

  1. Health Care Authority: New United Health Care Medicare Advantage program coming in 2021. Sign up deadline November 30.
  2. Washington State Actuary: Supports the soundness of the pension system.
  3. Washington State Investment Board: 75% of your pension comes from the investments.
  4. Preretirement Webinar: Posted afterFebruary 18, 2021.
  5. Department of Retirement.

These are a few of the subjects of importance that you can find on the WSSRA website.

Mini Grants

Our mini grant program has changed due to the Covid 19 issues that schools are now dealing with. Please read the following letter and mini grant form to see what Unit 21 members are now doing to offer support to the local schools and staff.

As usual, all school employees are eligible to apply. However, this year we are looking to maximize our dollars and grant proposals will be judged on merit (number of students affected, feasibility of success, and funding needed). In the past each grant was for $150, this year amounts awarded will vary from $150 and above based on the criteria above. Grant applications must be submitted via email and received by the cutoff date. Preference will be given to Unit 21 members. A non-member may apply and receive a grant one time.

ASK A FRIEND TO JOIN WSSRA!

All across Washington there is a local unit for you and for your friends and co-workers. Membership can be by automatic deduction!

If you are still employed your school district will facilitate your membership cost of $7 per month. Please contact Michele Hunter at 360-413-5496 or mhunter@wssra.org for information or click the membership link in the box below.

If you are a retired school retiree, please call Michelle or Barbara Robinson Unit 21 membership chair at babsann09@comcast.net for information or click the membership link in the box below.

Remember if you live in the Skagit, Island, San Juan area your unit of choice is Unit 21.