SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Senate has given its initial approval to three bills that would dramatically alter the state retirement system. Bountiful Republican Sen. Dan Liljenquist’s measures would reinvent the state pension fund for public employees hired after a certain date. The bills still need a final Senate vote before moving on to the House. The economic meltdown stripped Utah’s pension fund of $6.5 billion, and returns in 2009 did little to recover losses. The biggest change is in Senate Bill 63, which would replace the defined-benefit pension plan for public employees hired after July 1, 2011, with a scaled-down option. It would provide a choice between a hybrid retirement plan with reduced benefits or a 401(k) plan that allows them to contribute 8 percent of their salaries.
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