Oklahoma Senate panel OKs change to pension system

Newly hired Oklahoma state workers moved to 401(k)-style retirement under bill OK'd by panel

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma Senate 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 Senate Committee on Pensions approved the bill Monday, sending it to the full Senate for a vote. A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

The Senate author of the bill, Owasso Republican Rick Brinkley, says it would only apply to state employees hired after Nov. 1, 2015. It does not apply to teachers or to hazardous duty employees such as police officers, firefighters and prison guards.

Supporters of the bill say it will help reduce the state's roughly $11.6 billion unfunded pension liability.

The bill is opposed by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.