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Senate panel approves Oklahoma pension change

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A plan to eliminate the traditional pension benefit for newly hired workers in Oklahoma and replace it with a 401(k)-style retirement plan has cleared a Senate panel.

The Senate Committee on Pensions voted 5-2 on Tuesday for the bill, which already has passed the House.

Under the measure by Edmond Republican Rep. Randy McDaniel, state workers hired after Nov. 1, 2015, who are part of the Oklahoma Public Employee Retirement System would be shifted from the current defined-benefit pension plan to the 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan.

Supporters say the bill will help reduce the estimated $11.6 billion in unfunded liability across the state's public pension systems and provide today's younger workers with a more portable retirement plan.

Opponents say it will undermine retirement security for working families.