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Lawmakers essentially threw in the towel Thursday on comprehensive public pension reform - at least for now.

With this year's legislative session scheduled to end at midnight today, the Assembly voted 51-21 to approve a last-minute bill declaring its commitment to pension reform but conceding that more time is needed.

Pension reform, a battle cry at the beginning of the year, steadily lost momentum at the Capitol amid strong opposition from powerful public employee unions bent on preserving much of the status quo.

Senate Bill 827 was gutted and amended Wednesday to promise continued study of the issue by both legislative houses.

The measure reads:

"This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to convene a conference committee to craft responsible, comprehensive legislation to reform state and local pension systems in a manner that reflects both the legitimate needs of public employees and the fiscal circumstances of state and local governments."

SB 827 now goes to the Senate.



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