The pension overhaul bill that divided Dallas officials and first responders for months is now headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. The Texas House on Thursday unanimously agreed with the Senate's changes to House Bill 3158.
(Update, May 31: Abbott signed both the Dallas and Houston pension bills into law.)
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings initially opposed the bill, drawing anger from first responders, who supported the bill aimed at preventing their retirement fund from becoming insolvent within a decade. The Senate added provisions allowing the mayor to appoint a majority of pension board members, change how the city's contributions are calculated after 2024 and require super-majority votes on major changes to benefits and contributions. Rawlings and other city officials then got behind the bill.
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- The House passed a controversial Senate version of a Houston pension bill, angering firefighters. But in Dallas, leaders appear to have coalesced around a bill that once divided the mayor and first responders in that city.
Amid efforts by the Legislature to address immediate pension crises in Houston and Dallas, some see an opportunity to push for a sea change in how cities fund pensions. Critics predict such a move could drive first responders away in droves.
As the Texas Legislature considers bills aimed at fixing the Houston and Dallas pension problems, several of its members have personal or business ties to those cities' pension systems.