PHOENIX (AP) — A bill replacing pensions for new judges and other elected officials with a 401(k)-style retirement plan — a top priority of Republicans this Legislative session — was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jan Brewer.

The closure of the Elected Officials Retirement Plan for new state lawmakers, county officials and judges passed both the Senate and House of Representatives on party-line votes. HB 2608 does allow new judges who are already in the state's regular retirement system to remain there.

The plan is the smallest and most troubled of the four state retirement plans and only has assets to cover about 58 percent of its liabilities. It also has 992 retirees and their survivors drawing benefits, which is more than the 845 active members paying into the system.

Republican senate President Andy Biggs has called the officials' pension plan a "Ponzi scheme."

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