SENATE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As Passed Senate - Amended, March 6, 2020
Title: An act relating to optional benefits offered by school districts.
Brief Description: Concerning optional benefits offered by school districts.
Sponsors: Representatives Stonier, Sells, Dolan, Schmick, Boehnke, Bergquist, Vick, Pollet and Wylie.
Brief History: Passed House: 2/17/20, 97-0.
Committee Activity: Ways & Means: 2/26/20, 2/29/20 [DPA].
Passed Senate - Amended: 3/06/20, 47-1.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON WAYS & MEANS
Majority Report: Do pass as amended.
Signed by Senators Rolfes, Chair; Frockt, Vice Chair, Operating, Capital Lead; Mullet, Capital Budget Cabinet; Braun, Ranking Member; Brown, Assistant Ranking Member, Operating; Honeyford, Assistant Ranking Member, Capital; Becker, Billig, Carlyle, Conway, Darneille, Hasegawa, Hunt, Keiser, Liias, Muzzall, Pedersen, Rivers, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Warnick and Wilson, L..
Staff: Amanda Cecil (786-7460)
Background: In 2017, EHB 2242 was enacted, consolidating healthcare benefits for all eligible school employees under the School Employees' Benefits (SEB) Board. The SEB Board is responsible for determining the terms of employee and dependent eligibility and enrollment policies, subject to the condition that employees anticipated to work at least 630 hours per year qualify for coverage.
In 2018, ESSB 6241 was enacted, which included various provisions related to the administration of the benefits, including a provision allowing school districts to provide certain benefits to employees falling outside the authority of the SEB Board. The SEB Board's authority broadly includes medical and liability insurance.
Benefits under SEB began January 1, 2020.
Summary of Amended Bill: The SEB Board is provided with explicit authority to study and, subject to the availability of funding, provide the following employee-paid benefits:
long-term care insurance;
noncommercial personal automobile insurance;
personal homeowner's or renter's insurance;
specified disease or illness-triggered fixed payment insurance, hospital confinement fixed payment insurance, or other fixed payment insurance offered as an independent, noncoordinated benefit regulated by the office of the insurance commissioner;
travel insurance; and
voluntary employees' beneficiary association (VEBA) accounts.
If the Board is not providing these benefits a school district may provide these benefits to employees. With the exception of VEBA accounts, benefits provided by a district must be employee paid and may be administered using a payroll deduction.
If a district is found to be providing a benefit that competes with any form of basic or optional benefits that are provided by the Board the district, the provider, and the Health Care Authority are directed to work together to eliminate the conflict.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony on House Bill: The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: This bill provides needed clarity about what districts can offer to employees. Districts have been providing employee-paid benefits through payroll deductions and this allows them to continue to offer those by reaffirming the current law and practice. These are not health care products. They are plans that provide financial certainty. The amendment adds clarity and was agreed to by the stakeholders.
OTHER: The amendment fully address the concerns with the underlying bill.
Persons Testifying: PRO: Rick Chisa, Public School Employees of Washington; Julie Salvi, Washington Education Association; Mel Sorensen, American Fidelity; Tim Boyd, Aflac; Dan Steele, Washington Association of School Administrators, Washington Association of School Business Officials; Christian Dube, IUOE 302. OTHER: Brian Sims, Washington State School Directors Association.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.