Oklahoma House committee passes measure that would protect pension funds

Oklahoma House Joint Resolution 1027 would let voters decide whether to place stronger pension protections in the Oklahoma Constitution. The measure passed through committee Wednesday and now heads to the House.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm •  Published: February 6, 2013
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Voters would be asked to make sure certain steps are taken before a cost-of-living increase is given to those receiving a state pension, according to a measure that won committee approval Wednesday.

House Joint Resolution 1027 is intended to protect the funds of the state's six pensions, said Rep. Randy McDaniel, author of the measure.

The House of Representatives Economic Development and Financial Services Committee voted 11-3 to pass the measure. It now goes to the full House.

Concerns

State employees have expressed concerns about the measure and McDaniel, R-Edmond, agreed to a parliamentary procedure that will ensure the measure would return again to the House after the Senate acts on it.

“This is not a final product,” he told committee members.

Lawmakers two years ago passed a measure that requires the Legislature to fully fund cost-of-living adjustment increases for those on the state's pension system. Legislators in past decades approved benefit increases without providing additional money, which resulted in the money coming from the pension funds.

Before that law passed, the state's pension system had a $16.5 billion unfunded liability, making it among the worst in the country. After the law passed, the unfunded liability was reduced by nearly a third or about $5 billion.