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As legislators wrapped up work for the year without taking major action on public employee pension reform, Democratic legislative leaders pledged to spend the coming months studying the issue with hopes of considering pension measures when they return in January.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced in a joint statement yesterday the creation of an interim conference committee to consider potential changes to the pension system during the legislative recess.

"We are eager to add improving the pension system to the other major agreements the Legislature and the Governor have arrived at this year," they said in a press release issued late Friday evening, as lawmakers worked late into the night passing bills.

The committee, which will be chaired by Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Gardena, and a yet-to-be-determined Democratic senator, will hold a series of public hearings, drawing input from Gov. Jerry Brown, his Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst's Office and representatives from the pension funds for state employees and teachers.

Public pension reform was a central issue in budget negotiations between Brown and Senate Republicans in the first half of the year. The Democratic governor issued his own pension proposal in March, but Brown's plan and significant pension changes introduced in the Legislature failed to advance by the close of session.


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