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Florida House Pension Reform Package Now In Senate's Hands

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A controversial pension reform bill that just passed the House is now in the Florida Senate’s hands.

The Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill that supporters say would help stabilize the state retirement system. In a message to the House, the Senate requested the House pass the bill as is. Still,  Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-North Fort Myers) replaced the Senate bill with his pension reform package.

A controversial provision in the House version shifts new public employees to the state’s less popular retirement option—the 401 K style investment plan—seen by bill critics as more risky.

Currently, that default if a choice is not made is the traditional pension plan.

“So, the default change is to guarantee that those employees who don’t make a choice—and here we’re assuming that 35 percent will default into the investment plan—that those employees will be able to take their retirement benefits with them when they sever employment within a period of less than eight years,” said Caldwell.

But, Rep. Loranne Ausley (D-Tallahassee) says the House should have stuck with the Senate bill.

“This is one of the oldest tricks in the book: take something that is bad and controversial and attach it to something that’s necessary and on-controversial and hope that the Senate is just going to take a gulp of water and swallow that pill,” she said.

And, after passing the House bill 74-41, the measure now heads to the Senate.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner .

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