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Vt. governor signs pension reform bill into law

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law changes to the pension system allowing judges to order public employees to forfeit some or all of their pensions if they are convicted of certain financial crimes.

The law applies to felonies like embezzlement, theft, bribery and other crimes that involve an abuse of public office for financial gain.

Shumlin said Wednesday the law will help protect taxpayers when an employee is convicted of fraud or other financial crimes linked to their public office.

The measure won't be applied to cases already prosecuted or being prosecuted; the changes will apply to new convictions.

Shumlin proposed the bill in response to criminal conduct by a Department of Public Service employee involving false time sheets and wage reporting that came to light last year.