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House quickly advances 13th check for public pension retirees out of committee

The Statehouse dome is reflected in the window of a building across the street. Written on the window in yellow letters is "Coming soon"
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
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IPB News
Indiana's retired public pension recipients did not receive any increase in their benefits last year after lawmakers could not decide what type of increase to include in the state budget.

Tens of thousands of public pension recipients would get a boost this year under legislation headed to the House floor.

A bill, HB 1004, creating a 13th check unanimously cleared a House committee this week.

For decades, public pension recipients received a 13th check, an extra month’s worth of benefits. But disagreement between the House and Senate last year over whether to do a check or a cost-of-living adjustment in the state budget left those retirees without either.

Jessica Love, executive director for the Retired Indiana Public Employees Association, told lawmakers that those thousands of older Hoosiers rely on their pensions.

“And because inflation makes it impossible for their pensions to keep up, they depend on you to implement measures like this,” Love said.

READ MORE: Lawmakers recommend solution to increase public pension benefits; change unlikely before 2025

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Senate Republican leaders are undecided on whether to support the bill.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.