Okla. House committee passes pension changes bill

Oklahoma House committee passes measure to give newly hired workers 401(k)-style retirement

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma House committee has approved a bill to move newly hired state workers from the current defined-benefit pension into a 401(k)-style retirement system.

The House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee passed the measure Wednesday and sent it to the House floor for action.

The bill moves new state employees from a defined benefit plan to the 401k style, defined contribution plan being widely used in the private sector. The law does not cover teachers or employees designated as "hazardous duty" — including firefighters and police officers. It does not change the pension system for current employees or retirees.

Supporters say it will help reduce the state's roughly $11.6 billion unfunded pension liability. It is opposed by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.