Texas High Court OKs First Responder Pension Reform Law

Law360 (January 31, 2020, 6:43 PM EST) -- In a split ruling, the Texas Supreme Court held Friday that state lawmakers didn’t violate the Texas Constitution when banning firefighters and police officers from collecting deferred retirement benefits as a lump sum.

The 2017 law in question would only flout the constitution if it reduced first responders’ retirement benefits, and since House Bill 3158 simply changed the way the benefits were distributed, leaving the overall amount unaffected, it is legal, the state's highest court held in a 6-2 decision.

“The reform here does not negatively affect the amount of money in the retirees’ [Deferred Retirement Option Plan] accounts,” said Justice...

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