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Oklahoma Lawmakers Study Retirement Loophole (Oct 19, 2010)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma lawmakers are studying a loophole in the state's retirement system that critics say allows non-public educators to accrue benefits.

The House Appropriations and Budget Committee met Tuesday to study proposed legislation that would abolish the loophole. The study was requested by Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City, who filed similar legislation last year.

The bill would have removed a provision allowing former educators to remain in the teacher's retirement system after they join private education associations. Republican House leaders say overhauling the state's pension system will be a top legislative priority next year.

Officials say the state's seven pension plans have an estimated $15 billion in unfunded liability. The Oklahoma Teacher's Retirement System has unfunded liability of about $9.5 billion.

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