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North Dakota United 'Lobby Day' focuses on retirement plans, childcare and voucher bills

Courtesy ND United

Members of North Dakota United held their "Lobby Day at the State Capitol" Monday.

The union represents government workers and teachers. And it's watching bills concerning child care, vouchers for private schools, and a change in the public employees' retirement plan -- from defined benefit to defined contribution.

Dana Henry is with the state Tax Department. She said in her home state, she was a part of a defined contribution plan. Then the recession hit.

"I saw 90 percent of my life savings disappear in three months," Henry said. "I saw parents of fellow classmates lose more than six figures in their 401Ks, which meant they could not retire, and had to stay in the workforce longer than anticipated."

But Henry said her father was able to retire with dignity and security on his own terms.

"He did so knowing that when he walked out of the classroom for the very last time, his pension was guaranteed for life," Henry said.

The House is considering a bill to shut down the defined benefit plan for new hires. A Senate bill would keep the current retirement plan, and allow an employee to choose which kind of retirement plan they want.

Votes on the bills are expected Wednesday.

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