Thursday, June 17, 2004

Taft signs pension reform into law

New requirements will cover Ohio's 5 public boards

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft signed a bill Wednesday that overhauls the state's five public pension boards following reports of questionable spending and ethics violations.

The boards, which represent hundreds of thousands of retired public employees, must adopt ethics and travel policies under the new law.

The law also expands the boards of four of the state's five pension funds, removes the attorney general and auditor from the boards and requires the addition of investment experts appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.

The law also establishes an annual goal for using Ohio-based brokers and investment agents, but stops short of requiring certain amounts of investments be done by Ohio companies.

Board members and investment staff also would have to file financial disclosure statements with the ethics commission, and people lobbying the systems would be required to register as lobbyists and report gifts to board members and fund employees.

"Our retirement systems can again focus on what should matter most - providing the best investment return and superior customer service," Taft said.

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