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Kansas House Debates KPERS Overhaul Bill

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Updated 4:15 p.m.: House members passed a bill on a voice vote that would overhaul the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS.

The plan currently offers a traditional pension, with retirement benefits based on salary and years of service.  The bill would change KPERS to an investment plan offering workers a guaranteed 5 percent return. Lawmakers also added a second option, a 401(k)-style plan, where workers manage their own retirement investments.

Representative Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, supported the 401(k) provision.

"If we want people to take care of the retirement, provide for their own self well-being, then this is a valuable opportunity to have a choice," Suellentrop said.

Lawmakers also added an amendment to use gaming revenue to help pay down the $8 billion deficit KPERS is facing. Final action on the bill could come tomorrow.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
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