As of Friday, January 28, we have less than a week left before policy bills must be passed out of their house of origin policy committees in order to keep moving through the process. Thursday, February 3 is the session’s first “cut off” followed by Monday, February 7’s deadline for bills to have passed out of their first set of fiscal committees.

Within a week of passing the House, HB 1732 and HB 1733, addressing the state’s long-term services and supports trust program (LTSS) that went into effect at the beginning of the year, passed the Senate and were signed into law by Governor Inslee this Thursday.

HB 1732 delays the start date for the premium assessments under the LTSS from January 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, and delays the date benefits will become available from January 1, 2025, to July 1, 2026. The bill allows individuals born before January 1, 1968, who do not meet the program’s vesting requirements, to receive partial benefits based on the number of years of premium payments. Finally, it requires employers that have collected premium payments to refund employees within 120 days of collection.

HB 1733 creates four new voluntary exemptions from the program – certain veterans, spouses and registered domestic partners of military service members, nonimmigrant temporary workers, and employees who work in Washington and maintain a primary residence outside of the state.

HB 1732 contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately. HB 1733 will take effect in the normal course – 90 days after session ends.