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Weekly news and updates from Washington's workers' comp and workplace safety leader
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The WSIA Weekly, 11.11.16

Top News:

Great time and a great deal of money raised at Kids' Chance last night

Last night at Safeco Field, amidst two hundred members, supporters, and professionals from all sides and corners of the workers' compensation world in Washington, WSIA's third fundraiser benefit for Kids' Chance of Washington raised over $66,000 (and counting!) to support educational scholarships for students whose families have been impacted by a workplace fatality or permanent disability. We thank our volunteer event committee led by Board Members Jan Donley and Linda LaMonte for pulling together such a successful event for a good cause, and for our many sponsors, table captains and supporters from business, labor, the claimants' and defense bars and Labor & Industries. We'll put photos from the event up on our Facebook page when they come in, and roll out some additional ways the self-insured community can support Kids' Chance on our website soon.  

Comments needed: new BIIA practice and procedure rules
The Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals has announced formal rulemaking on a number of procedural and practice issues, and is seeking written comment by November 21st on the proposals, or public testimony at a December 1st public hearing. A link to the proposed rule language is here. The official proposal continues to include a number of provisions we have found problematic in prior drafts, including a ban on video depositions. Please submit any comments on the proposals that you would like to have part of a WSIA comment letter to Kris Tefft by next Friday. 

Status quo election in state legislature this week
While votes are still being counted in a handful of too-close-to-call legislative districts, Tuesday's election appears to have continued the political status quo in Washington State. The Governor was re-elected, the three incumbent members of the Washington Supreme Court that were under challenge were re-elected, and the partisan division of the Legislature -- a Republican controlled Senate and a Democratic controlled House -- continues. As our legislative committee and the employer community coalition stage a push for workers' compensation reform elements in the Legislature in 2017, no particular change in the political composition of the Legislature is one dynamic we will be actively working to manage. For more information on WSIA's legislative agenda, contact Kris Tefft.

Department opens rulemaking on pension discount rate reduction
Earlier this month, the Department of Labor & Industries announced its formal intent to adopt a rule for 2017 further reducing its "pension discount rate" -- the anticipated annual return on pension reserve investments taken into account when calculating the present value of future pension liabilities. The current rate is 6.3 percent; the Department is making gradual reductions on a target of 4.5 percent. We will have much to say about this issue, including its impact on the cost of the Second Injury Fund, in coming weeks. Every tenth of a point drop in the discount rate (and ever commensurate increase in the present-day size of pension reserves) has a significant cost impact on direct funded pensions and the Second Injury Fund. 
 

WSIA News & Events:

Liaison Committee notes up
WSIA's Liaison Committee held its most recent meeting with the Department's self-insurance leadership on November 3, and the minutes of that meeting are now posted on the website for interested members (login req'd). A number of operations and staff updates were shared, so take a look. Remember, the Liaison Committee is your forum for bringing issues, concerns, and questions to the attention of self-insurance management. Always feel free to reach out with any issues or concerns for the committee to bring up. The next meeting will take place in January. 

Rescheduled employers' workers' compensation coalition meeting next Wednesday
Our post-election meeting of the employers' workers' compensation coalition has been moved from today to next Wednesday, November 16th at 2:00 p.m., either here in person at the WSIA offices, or by telephone. The agenda will focus on a debrief from the legislative elections, a continued discussion of shared legislative priorities, discussion of the Department of Labor & Industries' legislative agenda, and a debrief from a Senate Commerce & Labor Committee work session on workers' compensation issues scheduled for November 15. For more information or for the meeting call-in details, contact Kris Tefft

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