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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.

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