February 26th – 2013 Regular Legislative Session Day 44

The final six bills being considered in the Appropriations Committee are Substitute House Bill 1817 adds eligibility for the State Need Grant for individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status that meet a certain criteria.

House Bill 1911 requires providers of hospital services that are licensed with the Department of Health to contract with local correctional facilities (jails) for inpatient, outpatient, and ancillary services; requires jails to reimburse hospital providers at no more than Medicaid rates plus a percentage increase that is determined in the state operating budget for treatment of offenders; and allows jails to contract with the Department of Corrections to use Provider One to pay outside hospital claims.

House Bill 1913 increases the benefit calculation for each year of service earned in the School Employees’ Retirement System for members employed as service workers from 2.0 to 2.1 percent of average final salary in Plan 2, and from 1.0 to 1.05 percent in Plan 3 and defines service worker as a classified school employee who performs service for which there are no formal qualifications, including custodians, food service workers, security, warehouse, and delivery personnel.

House Bill 1923 provides membership in the Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) for employees of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) that provide direct care, custody, or safety in state institutions including the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, the Mental Health hospitals, the Child Study and Treatment Center, the Special Commitment Center, and residential sites serving developmentally disabled patients or offenders; provides membership in PSERS to state, city, and county corrections personnel whose primary responsibility is to provide direct care, or ensure the custody and safety of offender and patient populations; adds the DSHS as an eligible PSERS employer; and permits members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Plan 2 or Plan 3 made newly eligible for PSERS to choose between remaining in PERS or transferring to PSERS for periods of future service.

House Bill 1929 adds Public Utility Districts (PUDs) that provide electrical services to the list of employers eligible for participation in the Public Safety Employees Retirement
System (PSERS); provides that beginning January 1, 2014, individuals are eligible for PSERS if they are newly employed by PUDs providing electrical services as qualified trades persons with the primary responsibility to maintain electrical lines and transformers, or provide direct support at a worksite for those members such as ground workers, journey level tree climbers, and equipment operators; and current PUD employees in positions made eligible for PSERS may choose to remain in the Public Employees’ Retirement System Plan 2 or Plan 3, or transfer to PSERS for periods of future service.

House Bill 1947 directs insurance premium taxes collected on plans offered through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) and on premiums for clients enrolling in the
Medicaid expansion to the Health Benefit Exchange Account (Account) starting January 1, 2014; authorizes the HBE to charge assessments on medical and dental plans sold through the HBE to fund HBE operations; specifies that moneys in the Account may only be spent after appropriation, and expenditures may only be used to fund HBE operations; requires the State Auditor to conduct a performance review by July 1, 2016, on the cost of HBE operations and make recommendations for improvements in cost performance and adoption of best practices.

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