Idaho Senate members will have their chance to decide if the state’s retirement system should continue to allow new private groups and associations to participate in the system.

House members passed legislation Wednesday that would block new private groups from taking part in the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho. The measure, officially House Bill 145, passed the House on a 69 to 0 vote.

Some 65 non-government entities currently are members of PERSI, including a number of associations, urban renewal districts and state labor unions. Private groups that already are a part of PERSI could continue participating and their new hires would remain eligible for retirement accounts in the state system.

Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, who sponsored the legislation, told colleagues it’s inappropriate for private groups to participate in a pension system that taxpayers would have to prop up in case of market losses.

Harris added, the bill removes the state from improper competition in the retirement marketplace.

As the bill heads to the Senate, it’s likely to land in the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee, chaired by Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls.

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