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Bill Ends Unfunded COLAs for Okla Pensions (Apr 19, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Senate has approved a bill that prohibits lawmakers from approving cost-of-living adjustments for state pensioners without a dedicated funding source — a move expected to help shore up the state's underfunded pension systems.

The Senate voted 33-13 on Tuesday to approve the bill, which is authored by House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman.

Bingman, R-Sapulpa, says the change is expected to immediately reduce the unfunded liability of the state's five major pension systems by more than $5 billion.

Currently, the state's pension systems have a combined unfunded liability of $16.5 billion, which is the amount owed to pensioners that exceeds available revenue.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

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