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Senate To Take Up Local Pension Reform Next Week

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) -- The Florida Senate on Wednesday is set to consider a bill aimed at shoring up the retirement plans for police officers and firefighters, amid  worries over the health of local pension systems.

The bill (SB 172), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, would revamp how state insurance-premium tax revenues can be used in local pension plans.

Senators passed an identical bill last year, but it died amid wrangling with the House about whether to overhaul the Florida Retirement System, which provides pension benefits to state employees and other groups such as teachers.

During a recent committee meeting, Bradley described local pension plans as a "ticking time bomb" because they are under-funded.

Also during a floor session Wednesday, the Senate is slated to consider a heavily debated proposal (SB 186), filed by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that would end the state's prohibition on breweries being able to fill 64-ounce beer containers known as "growlers."

Florida allows brewers to fill other size containers, but not the half-gallon size that is considered the most popular.

(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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