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It appears former Attorney General John Swallow will get to collect his state pension when he reaches retirement age — whether or not he is convicted of misconduct.

A bill that would have stripped Swallow of his pension and reduced that of his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, if they are convicted of the multiple felony counts they face failed to make it through the Legislature, as it sat third on the list when time ran out on the recent legislative session.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, said he will bring back the bill next year, but, based on concerns he heard from some senators, will not make it retroactive, meaning it would deny pension benefits only to future officeholders convicted of crimes.

"I would like to see the state protected in the future," McCay said. "Given my druthers, I think I will most likely let the past go, as much as that bothers me."

Last session, McCay sponsored HB416, which would have prevented an officeholder convicted of a crime from accruing retirement benefits after the day the act was committed.

It was clearly pointed at Swallow, who announced his resignation from office in November 2013, but made his resignation effective in early December, the day after he qualified for a state pension of about $12,000 a year once he reaches retirement age. He had served as Shurtleff's deputy before being elected attorney general and, before that, in the Legislature.

Swallow has been charged with 14 criminal counts, including a dozen felonies. Shurtleff, a former three-term attorney general, faces nine felony counts. Both men are accused of accepting gifts, receiving and soliciting bribes, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

Both have proclaimed their innocence.

In Swallow's case, if convicted, he would have lost his state pension under HB416, since he would have stopped receiving benefits almost as soon as he took office. The bill would have also applied to Shurtleff, if he is convicted, reducing the pension he would be eligible to receive, but because he served a total of 12 years, it would not have eliminated the benefit.

The bill passed the House unanimously but wasn't a high priority for House leadership, who put it near the bottom of the final list of priority bills it gave to the Senate. It was third on the schedule at midnight on the last night — March 12 — and the Legislature adjourned.

Josh Kanter, founder and board chairman of the progressive Alliance for a Better Utah, said it's disappointing that the bill failed in the Legislature.

"Suggesting that [McCay] may bring it back in some watered-down fashion that wouldn't apply to Swallow is equally disappointing," Kanter said. "He's already cost the taxpayers something in that entire process by not representing the public and upholding his oath of office. … To give him his pension for life, taxpayers are just paying all over again."

McCay said he's somewhat surprised the measure didn't get considered in the Senate.

"But that's the nature [of lawmaking]. With that bill, there were so many complexities working with the Utah Retirement Systems that it was difficult to get out sooner," he said. "If it had been introduced earlier in the session, it would've had plenty of time to get through the system."

If he does revive the bill next year, McCay said, he plans to work with the public-employees union and others so it would restrict the retirement benefits of any state worker who commits a crime related to his or her public position.

Twitter: @RobertGehrke