By Patrick McGreevy
October 4, 2013, 1:20 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — The state of California on Friday sued the U.S. Department of Labor, alleging that the agency improperly denied federal grants to public transit projects in the state after erroneously deciding state pension reforms interfere with the collective bargaining rights of workers.

Gov. Jerry Brown said the federal lawsuit was necessary to protect an overhaul of California’s public pension systems approved last year to cut costs for the state.

“Bringing this lawsuit is just another step to ensure that our pension system is viable long into the future,” Brown said.

The governor signed legislation on Friday that exempts local transit agencies’ workers from the California Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 while the state pursues its case in court.

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