- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana lawmakers have deleted language in a law that threatened the state pension former first lady Judy O'Bannon began drawing after Gov. Frank O’Bannon died in 2003.

The Democratic governor’s widow married attorney Donald Willsey in November at age 78. Soon after, it came to light that a state employee pension law specifies that if a governor’s spouse remarries, that person will lose the governor’s pension.

Once that information reached political circles, leaders of both parties agreed the law needed to be changed.

Lawmakers researched the law and found that it contained a provision that applied only to the spouse of a governor who remarries. Other state employees in similar circumstances were not affected.


Language deleting the provision was added to a public pension bill that passed both chambers and is now awaiting Gov. Mike Pence’s signature, The Indianapolis Star reported (http://indy.st/1qG4MQv ) Saturday.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long said that if Judy O'Bannon lost any pension in the interim, it would be reinstated. He said Judy O'Bannon had served beside Gov. O'Bannon - who died during his second term in September 2003 after a stroke - throughout his years in office and she had earned the pension.

“It was the right thing to do,” Long, R-Fort Wayne, told the newspaper. “It was one of the good things we were able to do this session.”

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com