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Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee waves at the conclusion of his State of the State address in the House chambers of the Statehouse, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 in Providence. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) — Rhode Island officials and union leaders said they reached a deal to settle challenges to public pension-overhaul laws aimed at strengthening one of the U.S.’s most underfunded retirement programs.

Under the settlement of lawsuits filed by public-employee unions, the state agreed to restore pension increases more quickly than provided for in the revised law, according to an e- mailed statement by Governor Lincoln Chafee. The accord allows Rhode Island officials to maintain changes to the pension system that offer potential savings of about $4 billion.

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