pension reform

The contentious plan to revamp the state’s floundering retirement systems was overturned in State Supreme Court on Friday. 

The high court knocked down the law not because of content, but because of how it passed. State law requires a supermajority for this kind of bill to progress. The legislature sent this one to the governor’s desk with only the majority’s approval.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s pension overhaul passed by the legislature last session.

Louisiana Legislature

Representative Kevin Pearson, chairman of the House Retirement Committee, has prepared a bill that he hopes will improve the cash balance plan – despite that the plan is the subject of ongoing litigation. The plan was overturned in court because it didn’t get a two-thirds vote in the legislature. 

If the State Supreme Court does uphold the decision, the bill could be used as a safety-net, and the cash balance plan could be brought before the legislature a second time.


The state employee retirement reforms Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed last session were overturned in court last week. Monday, a state committee heard testimony about changes to the firefighters' retirement system that could be considered by the legislature this spring.

Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed the 401K-style retirement plan for future rank-and-file state workers last year. Thursday, a state judge struck it down.

Judge William Morvant called his ruling, “purely procedural.”

He said the law that swaps out monthly retirement payments for a “cash-balance” plan for new hires needed a two-thirds majority to pass since it raises the cost of the retirement plan.

Throughout the hearing Thursday, the opposing sides attacked the credibility of each other’s auditor.

As of Friday, May 11, the state Legislative session has three weeks until it must adjourn.

The budget has yet to be balanced even though the house passed an amendment Friday to end the dispute over the use of one-time money, and Governor Bobby Jindal's pension reforms remain in limbo.

Robert Mann is the Director of the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at the Manship School at LSU.

WRKF's Ashley Westerman sat down with him earlier this week and asked what the biggest priority for the legislature is at this point.


Alex C. Balla

Key pieces of Governor Bobby Jindal's pension reform have started to make their way through the legislature.

A bill that aims to change retirement eligibility heads to the full House tomorrow for further debate. Meanwhile, legislation to create a cash-balance plan for retirees and raise employee pension contribution by 3-percent is slated for the full Senate floor in the coming weeks.

Jeffrey Sadow is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LSU Shreveport. He is also the author of the Louisiana politics blog "Between The Lines".

Sadow spoke with WRKF's Ashley Westerman via telephone about the political dynamics at play in order to get pension reforms passed.

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