(AP) The high stakes dispute over sweeping changes to Rhode Island's public retirement system is heading to its first big day in court.
A judge in Providence is scheduled to hear arguments Friday on the state's motion to dismiss legal challenges filed by public-sector unions unhappy with the new law.
Lawmakers in 2011 voted to raise retirement ages, suspend pension increases and change benefits for thousands of retired and active teachers and government workers. Unions sued to overturn the changes, which labor leaders say go back on decades of promises by the state.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee), a supporter of the law, now says he's willing to negotiate with unions to end the lawsuit.
The case could have big implications for other states as they seek to rein in rising pension costs.