More flexibility for State Patrol retirement plans becomes law

Sen. Barbara Bailey’s legislation that would allow Washington State Patrol officers to purchase life annuity benefits as part of a menu of options from the retirement system was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in a formal ceremony last Saturday.

Senate Bill 5210 was the result of Bailey’s work and recommendations from the Select Committee on Pension Policy. Annuity purchases must be at least $25,000 from a tax qualified plan offered by a government employer. Annuities are a common financial tool to provide steady income throughout retirement.

“Although this may seem like merely a technical change to pension policy, this will mean a significant difference for our retiring troopers,” said Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, chair of the committee that recommended the change.  “Our retiring officers will have more flexibility and control over their retirement investments and aligns our state law enforcement system with other police retirement systems throughout the state.”

Washington State Patrol do not receive social security benefits for their service per their bargaining agreements. Instead troopers frequently avail the use of state deferred compensation programs. This law will allow them the option to purchase an annuity with deferred compensation funds creating a vital retirement tool.

“Our state troopers do so much and giving them more options for a secure retirement is the right thing to do,” Bailey said.

Jeff Merrill, president of the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association noted, “On behalf of the over 1,200 WSP troopers across Washington State, I want to express my sincere appreciation of Senator Bailey’s continued support of public safety. Her leadership in Olympia and tireless efforts as the chair of the Select Committee on Pension Policy is a model for every elected official in this State.”