Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution (ESJR) 8212 is a proposed amendment to the Washington State Constitution that is before voters in the November 2020 election. It would allow monies paid into the state treasury for long term care to be flexibly invested (including in private stocks), just like pension funds, industrial insurance funds, and funds for the developmentally disabled already are.
This website was created by the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI), which supports ESJR 8212, to explain what the amendment is and allow voters to thoroughly research the proposal before casting their vote. NPI itself has taken a position urging an “Approved” vote.
We encourage you to read the text of the amendment, the explanatory statement, the roll calls, the arguments for and against, the supporting endorsements and information we’ve compiled, and cast a vote to “Approve” Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution 8212 by November 3rd.
BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION ASSEMBLED:
THAT, At the next general election to be held in this state the secretary of state shall submit to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, an amendment to Article XXIX, section 1 of the Constitution of the state of Washington to read as follows:
Article XXIX, section 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 5, and 7 of Article VIII and section 9 of Article XII or any other section or article of the Constitution of the state of Washington, the moneys of any public pension or retirement fund, industrial insurance trust fund, ((
or)) fund held in trust for the benefit of persons with developmental disabilities, or fund to provide for long-term care services and supports may be invested as authorized by law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the secretary of state shall cause notice of this constitutional amendment to be published at least four times during the four weeks next preceding the election in every legal newspaper in the state.
— END —Complete text of Senate Joint Resolution 8212
The following is the explanatory statement for SJR 8212 authored by the Washington State Office of the Attorney General (AGOWA).
The Constitutional Provision as it Presently Exists
The Washington Constitution generally prohibits investing public money in the stock of private companies. This means that state and local governments are limited to investing public funds in fixed-income securities, such as government and corporate bonds and certificates of deposit. The Constitution currently exempts several funds from this restriction. This exemption applies to any public pension or retirement fund, the industrial insurance trust fund, and money held in trust for the benefit of people with developmental disabilities. The exemption allows state and local governments to invest money held in those funds as authorized by law, including by investing in stock as authorized by the Legislature. In 2019, the Legislature enacted a law providing for long-term care insurance. Under that law, employees will pay premiums for state-sponsored long-term care benefits through a payroll deduction, beginning January 1, 2022. Those premiums will be deposited into a new Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Account (Trust Account). Under current law, money held in the Trust Account could not be invested in stocks.
The Effect of the Proposed Amendment if Approved
This Amendment would add the Trust Account to the list of funds that are exempt from the prohibition against investing public money in private stocks. This would allow money in the Trust Account to be invested in stock if the Legislature authorizes that form of investment.
To appear on the November 2020 ballot, Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution 8212 needed to receive a two-thirds vote of each legislative chamber in accordance with the Washington State Constitution’s requirements for amendments. SJR 8212 easily met these thresholds. The names you see below in the roll calls are the surnames of your current state legislators.
Investment of LTC funds
3rd Reading & Final Passage
Yeas: 96; Nays: 1; Excused: 1
Voting Yea: Representatives Appleton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Boehnke, Caldier, Callan, Chambers, Chandler, Chapman, Cody, Corry, Davis, DeBolt, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Duerr, Dufault, Dye, Entenman, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Gildon, Goehner, Goodman, Graham, Gregerson, Griffey, Hansen, Harris, Hoff, Hudgins, Irwin, Jenkin, Johnson, J., Kilduff, Kirby, Klippert, Kloba, Kraft, Kretz, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Lovick, MacEwen, Macri, Maycumber, McCaslin, Morgan, Mosbrucker, Orcutt, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Pellicciotti, Peterson, Pettigrew, Pollet, Ramel, Ramos, Riccelli, Robinson, Rude, Ryu, Santos, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Shea, Shewmake, Slatter, Smith, Springer, Steele, Stokesbary, Stonier, Sullivan, Sutherland, Tarleton, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Werven, Vick, Volz, Walen, Walsh, Wilcox, Wylie, Ybarra, Young, Jinkins
Voting Nay: Representative Chopp
Excused: Representative Mead
Investment of LTC funds
3rd Reading & Final Passage
Yeas: 45; Nays: 3; Excused: 1
Voting Yea: Senators Becker, Billig, Braun, Brown, Carlyle, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Frockt, Hawkins, Hobbs, Holy, Honeyford, Hunt, Keiser, King, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mullet, Muzzall, Nguyen, O`Ban, Pedersen, Randall, Rivers, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Schoesler, Sheldon, Short, Stanford, Takko, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Walsh, Warnick, Wellman, Wilson (Claire), Wilson (Lynda), Zeiger
Voting Nay: Senators Ericksen, Hasegawa, Padden
Excused: Senator Fortunato
Washingtonians Support ESJR 8212 – a fiscally responsible investment decision
In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed The Long Term Care Trust Act to address the growing long-term care crisis. 70% of adults over the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care but 90% are not insured for longterm care. The Long Term Care Trust fund will help families access and afford these critical services with a benefit of up to $36,500 indexed to inflation. The fund is available to Washingtonians once they need assistance with three or more regular daily activities such as eating, bathing, or help with medications and are vested by paying into the program.
Benefits will begin being paid out in 2025 and do not count as income for determining eligibility for Medicaid or other state safety-net programs. Voting in favor of this ballot measure helps to ensure the Long Term Care Trust fund can pay benefits to eligible Washingtonians over the long-term. This ballot measure, ESJR 8212, will allow the Long Term Care Trust fund to be included on the list of public funds exempt from current constitutional investment restrictions. If voters approve this ballot measure, the Long Term Care Trust fund could be invested in the same way that pension funds and ABLE funds are currently invested by our state. The Trust is self-funded with an independent commission and the state actuary responsible for regular certification of the program’s solvency.
Support for ESJR 8212 is the fiscally responsible choice. With voters’ approval, funds would be invested like the State pension and ABLE funds are currently invested, which allows for larger investment growth. Through each economic downturn the market has rebounded demonstrating the overall long term strength of the economy. Higher yield investment options are good for the people of Washington
and critically important to Long Term Services and Supports
programs in the future.
Cathleen MacCaul, Advocacy Director, AARP Washington State; Susie Young, Home Care Worker & Executive Board Member, SEIU 775; Jim Wilgus, Regional Leader & Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association; Dan Murphy, Policy Chair, Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging; Walt Bowen, President, Washington State Senior Citizen’s Lobby; Lauri St. Ours, Executive VP Government Relations, Washington Health Care Association
In 1889, the wise founders of the state of Washington wanted to protect public funds from potential losses of risky investments so they established safeguards in our state Constitution prohibiting stock market investments of our public funds.
SJR 8212 will overturn that safeguard for our new LongTerm Care Services and Supports Trust Program, a multiBillion-dollar program established this legislative session in preparation for the coming “Silver Tsunami” of elderly needing services. With so much money in play, we must not lose sight of the stock market’s high risk along with the questionable bottom line ethics of some Wall Street brokers.
From 2000-03 the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost a third of its value. Around 2008-09 the DJIA lost half its value during the Great Recession. This year the DJIA fall over 37% in less than six weeks from February 12, 2020 to March 23, 2020. Who knows where it is going from here? The longterm economic impacts of COVID-19 are still unknown.
Your vote is about prudent fiscal management of our tax dollars. A better idea is to invest public money into federal, state and municipal bonds that support public works we all depend on in Washington. They’re safe. Don’t let Wall Street brokers gamble with our hard-earned tax dollars.
The Founders didn’t trust the stock market then, and we shouldn’t trust it now. Please vote no on SJR 8212.
Your No vote will protect the long-term stability of the Trust Fund from being gambled on by Wall Street. SJR 8212’s passage absolutely does not guarantee that long term care benefits will actually be paid out to eligible Washingtonians. Don’t gamble with the people’s hard-earned money. We can better safeguard our money and know that it is being invested in a responsibly prudent way by casting a strong no vote on SJR 8212.
Mike Padden, State Senator, 4th District (R); Bob Hasegawa, State Senator, 11th District (D)
Nearly 70% of adults over the age of 65 will need some level of long-term care, yet 90% are not insured for it. That’s why the legislature established the Long-Term Care Trust Act in 2019 to address Washington’s long-term care crisis, reducing the burdensome cost of long-term care for hundreds of thousands of Washington families.
This year, the state House and Senate approved Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution 8212 with overwhelming bipartisan votes of 96-1 and 45-3, respectively. If approved by voters this November, ESJR 8212 would give the Washington State Investment Board more options to responsibly manage Washington’s Long-Term Care Trust Fund in order to ensure every elderly Washingtonian can rely on and afford the long-term care services they need, when they need it.
By giving the state investment board the ability to invest the trust fund, more families in Washington will be able to receive funding for care, with a benefit of up to $36,500 indexed to inflation. The state already invests pensions for frontline workers like our teachers, police, and firefighters in this manner, allowing the funds to responsibly grow in value over time. The Long-Term Care Trust is overseen by a trusted, independent commission and will begin paying out benefits in 2025, offering seniors in Washington the care they need.
Vote to Approve ESHR 8212 to make a smart investment in the health of Washingtonians!2020 Washington State Progressive Voters Guide
The twenty-ninth article of the Washington State Constitution (which exempts certain funds from the prohibition on being invested in private stocks) has a long history. It was created in the 1960s, before the state’s centennial, and originally read as follows:
Amendment 49 (1968) — Art. 29 Section 1 MAY BE INVESTED AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW — Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 5, and 7 of Article VIII and section 9 of Article XII or any other section or article of the Constitution of the state of Washington, the moneys of any public pension or retirement fund may be invested as authorized by law. [AMENDMENT 49, 1967 Senate Joint Resolution No. 5; see 1969 p 2975. Approved November 5, 1968.]Washington State Office of the Code Reviser
In 1985, with legislative and voter approval, Article XXIX was amended to add a new exception — for industrial insurance funds, as indicated by the highlighting below:
Amendment 75 (1985) — Art. 29 Section 1 MAY BE INVESTED AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW — Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 5, and 7 of Article VIII and section 9 of Article XII or any other section or article of the Constitution of the state of Washington, the moneys of any public pension or retirement fund or industrial insurance trust fund may be invested as authorized by law. [AMENDMENT 75, 1985 House Joint Resolution No. 12, p 2398. Approved November 5, 1985.]Washington State Office of the Code Reviser
And in 2000, again with legislative and voter approval, Article XXIX was amended to add another exception — fund held in trust for the benefit of persons with developmental disabilities:
SECTION 1 MAY BE INVESTED AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 5, and 7 of Article VIII and section 9 of Article XII or any other section or article of the Constitution of the state of Washington, the moneys of any public pension or retirement fund, industrial insurance trust fund, or fund held in trust for the benefit of persons with developmental disabilities may be invested as authorized by law. [AMENDMENT 93, 2000 Senate Joint Resolution No. 8214, p 1919. Approved November 7, 2000.]Washington State Office of the Code Reviser
The above is the language in the Constitution today.
ESJR 8212 would create a fourth exception to the prohibition on the investment of public funds in private stocks — for long term care services and supports. These could be invested “as authorized by law” like the aforementioned funds already are. However, the prohibitions barring the private investment of other public moneys would remain in force.