Judge hears arguments in lawsuit over pension plan bill

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - A judge is hearing arguments Thursday in a lawsuit over the state’s bill aimed at reforming Houston’s pension plan for municipal workers, police officers and firefighters.

The heavily debated bill was given final approval by legislators May 24 and was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott a week later.

The Senate version of the bill encompassed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s pension reform plan, which requires cuts in future employee benefits, coupled with the sale of bonds to begin whittling down the city’s $8 billion pension deficit.

The bill also required a citywide referendum to approve sale of the bonds.

Officials at the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund said May 31 that the group had filed suit because they believe the bill violates the state’s constitution.

Neither side said anything as attorneys entered a Houston courtroom Thursday morning.

Without an injunction, Abbott’s signature means the law will become effective Saturday.

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