Thursday, April 29, 2010

House Committee Approves a Constitutional Amendment Aimed at Containing Retirement System Costs – by Robyn Ekings

The House and Governmental Affairs Committee today voted to support a proposed constitutional amendment (HB 229) that would require a 2/3 vote of both the House and Senate for bills that have an actuarial cost for certain Louisiana public retirement systems. Among those systems included in the legislation is the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS). Bill sponsor Kevin Pearson, who is also the Chairman of the House Retirement Committee, told the panel that the bill would help avoid special interest legislation that increases debt of the retirement systems.

The measure would change the requirement for funding of proposed pension increases from a simple majority vote of the legislature, to the 2/3 vote. It would require final legislative approval and approval by Louisiana voters. The goal, as Pearson emphasized, is to back up all promises of additional retirement benefits with a solid commitment to fund the payments. The bill now moves to the full house for debate.

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