2010-12-02 / Local & State

Rendell Signs Public Pension, Recycling Bills

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Ed Rendell has signed bills that reduce pension benefits for newly hired state and public-school employees and require the establishment of recycling programs for electronic devices, his office said Wednesday.

The pension bill, which also creates an independent legislative fiscal office, buys time for the cash-strapped state treasury and local school districts by reducing the amount they must pay in the near term into the two major public-sector pension plans that serve more than 675,000 current and retired state government and public school employees.

While the bill would not affect pensions of people already in the system, it would reduce benefits and increase the retirement age for newly hired state workers, teachers and other school employees, among other changes.

The bill dealing with electronic waste requires manufacturers of computers and televisions to establish, conduct and manage recycling programs for electronics sold in the state.

Under the law, retailers must notify customers about how to recycle the devices, such as locations for their collection. The bill also bans dumping such devices in a landfill.

The bills were among 22 that Rendell signed Tuesday night. Still on his desk is a bill to expand Pennsylvanians’ right to use deadly force to protect themselves.

Rendell has until Saturday to decide whether he will sign or veto the bill or let it become law without his signature.

The proposal, which has been approved by both houses in the Legislature, would remove the duty to retreat before deadly force may be used against an attacker, except under certain circumstances. It also would expand the so-called “castle doctrine’’ in present law so that it applies beyond homes and vehicles and offers immunity against civil lawsuits.

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