The union-backed pension bill has cleared the Senate.  Forty senators voted yes on the plan, which will give workers and retirees  the option to choose their pension benefits.  Opponents argue the bill doesn't solve the pension problem because it only saves about 46-billion dollars over the next 30 years.  Others call the plan unconstitutional because it forces workers and retirees to accept reduced benefits.  

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The constitution calls retirement benefits a contract between the state and its workers, which can't be changed.  Union leaders like the bill and say they won't challenge it.  But a group for retired teachers don't share the same sentiment, claiming they're being forced to take reduced benefits.  Senator Kwame Raoul contends they're changing the retirement contract under mutual agreement with workers who'll get to choose their pension plans.  He believes it will stand up in court if a lawsuit is brought forth.  The bill now heads to the House.  

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