Senators hope 6th time's the charm for ending big pension payday for legislators who switch jobs

01/23/2014 03:34 PM

For the sixth time, the state Senate has passed a bill that keeps legislators from “supersizing” their retirements if they switch to higher paying government jobs.

And as the bill was being debated Thursday, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said House leaders might have motives to not pass the bill.

The full Senate unanimously agreed to move pass Senate Bill 4 which was brought forward by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill. McDaniel said he has already opted out of the legislative retirement plan.

The bill gives lawmakers the opportunity to decline a bump in their public pensions if they switch from a legislative job — usually with an annual salary of $30,000-$40,000 — to a higher paying job elsewhere in state government, such as a judgeship or executive branch position.

Currently, legislators who do switch jobs get to calculate their length of service in the legislature with the higher salaries from their other government jobs, which gives them a more lucrative pension.

McDaniel said the legislation did receive an actuarial analysis from the retirement system and it was determined that the bill would save taxpayers $6.1 million.

The measure now heads to the House for their consideration. Stivers said in the past the bill has fallen “on deaf ears.”

“This is the sixth time the Senate has tried to give the House an alternative to do something that we have been criticized for – for many years. But it falls on deaf ears down in the House,” Stivers said.

Stivers was referring to House Bill 299 in 2005 when the Senate amended legislation allowing legislators to beef up their pensions, something they’re now trying to roll back.

When Stivers was asked why he thinks the House has refused to take action on the bill in past sessions he said “they may have motives I don’t know about…motives to have a bigger pension.”

Stivers said he would opt out of a higher pension if the legislation becomes law.


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