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Bismarck lawmaker wants to preserve 'defined benefit' retirement plan

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Sen. Sean Cleary (R-Bismarck)

A Bismarck lawmaker has introduced a bill to preserve the “defined benefit” retirement plan for public employees.

Proposals from Gov. Doug Burgum and a Legislative interim committee would change the plan for new hires to a “defined contribution” plan.

Sen. Sean Cleary (R-Bismarck) said his bill would allocate $250 million to help reduce the current plan’s unfunded liability. Cleary said it does not use Legacy Fund earnings, but it would increase both state and employee contributions.

Cleary said the “defined benefit” plan provides a “competitive benefit” for state employees.

"I do think maintaining that plan, and doing it in a way that's responsible with public money, is the best path forward," Cleary said.

Cleary saids under his bill, public employees could still choose a “defined contribution” plan, if they believe it would be better for their retirement plans.

Cleary's bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Dick Dever (R-Bismarck) and House Minority Leader Josh Boschee (D-Fargo).

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