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Legislation would protect Calif. transit money

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats in the state Assembly have drafted legislation they hope will help California keep about $1.6 billion in federal transportation money after the state scaled back some public employee pension benefits.

Brown announced the bill, AB1222, on Wednesday.

It comes after transportation unions complained that the pension changes the Legislature approved last year violated a federal law that requires any changes to pensions be made during collective bargaining.

The U.S. Department of Labor agreed and stopped certifying that the state was protecting workers' rights. That decision froze federal money to public transit agencies.

The Democratic governor says the bill would allow the federal money to continue flowing while he plans a lawsuit "to defend in court our landmark pension reforms."