BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Attempts to tweak Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to shift future rank-and-file state workers to a 401(k)-style retirement plan failed to gain traction Thursday in the House Retirement Committee.
Committee Chairman Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, proposed a measure (House Bill 68) to adjust provisions of the law passed last year, but the attempt was stonewalled in a 6-6 vote by lawmakers concerned that the law already is tied up in legal uncertainty.
A district court judge has ruled the "cash balance" retirement plan unconstitutional. That ruling is on appeal. Meanwhile, leaders of two state retirement systems have raised concerns about how the plan would be administered and about its tax implications.
The retirement change, approved by lawmakers last year, created an investment account similar to a 401(k) plan for certain state employees hired after July 1. That would stand in place of a monthly retirement payment based on salary and years of employment.
Pearson could try to revive the adjustment bill again this session.
A repeated attempt by Rep. Jeff Arnold to rework the laws involving automated traffic cameras has again stalled because of opposition from local government officials who rely on the penalty dollars for their budgets.
Arnold, D-New Orleans, proposed a measure (House Bill 217) requiring voter approval before drivers could be fined for violations caught by the cameras. Current fines could be collected until July 1, 2014, without an affirmative vote of residents.
The House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee voted 10-5 against the idea, likely killing it for the session.
In other legislative action:
—The House unanimously agreed that Louisiana license plates issued for private passenger vehicles from 2014 through 2015 should commemorate the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans. The measure (House Concurrent Resolution 67) by Rep. Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans, heads next to the Senate for debate.
"Why are there no green cards ever on my bills?"
—Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, chairman of the House Retirement Committee, joking about the opposition lined up to his bills Thursday.