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Rhode Island Makes Pensions Portable

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A new law in Rhode Island makes the state the first in the nation to allow teachers who leave the state to retain their retirement benefits.

The pension-portability measure signed into law last month by Gov. Edward D. DiPrete hinges on Rhode Island's ability to forge reciprocal arrangements with other states.

The plan was praised by educators as the first step toward creation of a national system allowing transfers of pension benefits.

Teachers typically lose all or a portion of their retirement benefits when they move to another state. The National Governors' Association and other groups have argued that the adoption of a national pension-portability system would enhance teacher mobility and thus stem shortages.

At a press conference, Governor DiPrete urged other states to adopt similar laws. Such plans are under consideration in Florida and Massachusetts.

The Rhode Island plan is based on a Canadian system that permits teachers to keep accrued benefits when they move from one province to another.--nm

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