HELENA, Mont. -

A big committee charged with finding a fix for public pensions is learning a bipartisan deal won't be easy.

Republican legislative leaders told the new Joint Select Committee on Pensions on Tuesday that alternatives are needed for new employees.

But the governor's office told the panel that it opposes getting rid of the pension program for new employees, or leading alternatives such as a new defined contribution plan. Bullock is touting a proposal that asks both employees and employers to pay more into the current system.

The Republican chairman of the panel says he still hopes for bipartisan compromise. Sen. Dave Lewis of Helena says they will propose legislation by next month.

In past legislative sessions, the thorny political issue has been kicked down the road for further study.

Click here to read Governor Bullock’s letter to the Joint Select Committee on Pensions.