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Oklahoma firefighters rally against consolidating state pension boards

About 400 firefighters showed up outside the Oklahoma Capitol to oppose a plan to consolidate state pension boards. The plan has the support of the governor and state treasurer.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: March 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013

Fallin's press secretary, Aaron Cooper, said after the rally that the consolidation is a priority for the governor.

“The state pension system faces $11 billion in unfunded liabilities, putting the solvency of those plans at risk,” Cooper said. “The governor has no plans to consolidate the state pension funds. The governor does feel there is great potential for cost savings by streamlining the management of the state's seven pension systems.”

Bradshaw said he is disappointed about the push to consolidate the pension commissions, especially after firefighters worked the past two years on legislation intended to reduce the unfunded liability of the firefighters' pension system.

Proposed legislation this year calls for a reduction in retirement benefits for future firefighters and increasing the current employee and employer contributions as well as state funding for the firefighters pension.

Also of concern

Firefighters also were told to oppose Senate Bill 1062, which would reduce compensation benefits available to injured workers.

Gary Huddleston, a lobbyist for Lawyers for Working Oklahomans, said the measure would reduce widows' benefits and abolish workers' compensation coverage for all of Oklahoma's volunteer firefighters injured in the line of duty.