There is a lot of interest among state lawmakers in converting the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to a 401(k)-type plan. And with good reason. KPERS is chronically underfunded and faces a long-term liability of about $8.3 billion. But when reforms are seriously reviewed, lawmakers tend to balk, realizing that switching to a 401(k)-type plan would cost the state more money initially and make it even harder to cover KPERS' unfunded liability. That seems to have happened again. The GOP leaders of the House Pensions and Benefits Committee backed away from a KPERS study commission proposal to move to a defined-contribution plan. "Conceptually, it sounded fairly easy to do," said committee Chairman Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, "but once they got into it, started drafting the bill, it became fairly problematic."