Matt Bevin

Ryland Barton

A day after Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill overhauling retirement benefits for public workers, Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit to try and block it.

The statewide unions for public school teachers and police also joined the challenge.

Beshear argues the new law will lead to mass-retirement of current employees, creating an “imminent” threat to the state.

Amid Teacher Protests, Kentucky Governor Signs Pension Bill

Apr 11, 2018
J. Tyler Franklin

Defying the vocal objections of teachers, Kentucky's Republican governor signed a bill into law Tuesday that makes changes to the state's troubled public pension systems.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced the signing on WHAS-AM. The law preserves most benefits for current and retired teachers but moves new hires into a hybrid plan that puts less risk on the state.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says he will veto the entire two-year state budget and revenue bills passed by the legislature last week, saying that the tax plan isn’t comprehensive enough and the budget spends too much money.

The budget passed by the legislature included about $600 million more in spending than the spending plan proposed by Bevin back in January.

Most of the spending increases went towards K-12 schools and higher education, which education advocates say still received cuts but were funded at higher levels than in Bevin’s budget.

Kentucky Governor Vetoes Bill To Help Agencies Leave Pension System

Apr 5, 2018
J. Tyler Franklin

Alarmed at the potential cost to taxpayers, Republican governor Matt Bevin vetoed legislation Thursday that would make it easier for agencies like rape crisis centers and mental health facilities to leave the state's troubled public pension system.

But the veto, the first of the 2018 legislative session, comes with a cost to local governments. The bill would have given city and county governments more time to pay massive increases in retirement contributions for their employees. Without that cushion, local government leaders say it would likely cause widespread layoffs and cuts in services.

Ryland Barton

Thousands of teachers have packed into the State Capitol building in Frankfort to protest the Republican-led legislature’s passage of a bill overhauling the state’s pension systems last week and other policies.

The pension changes would no longer give conventional pensions to future teachers, instead providing them with cash-balance retirement plans that depend on the stock market but are guaranteed to not lose money.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says he’ll go to court to challenge the pension overhaul bill passed by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled General Assembly Thursday night.

In a video, Andy Beshear said  he’s outraged over the measure, which sponsors attached to an unrelated bill dealing with sewage.

“They plopped a 291 page bill in front of lawmakers and made them vote on it without reading it,” Beshear said. “And they didn’t even have the required actuarial analysis which would tell you and me whether it would even work, whether it would save a dime.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called teachers who oppose the Republican plan to overhaul the state’s pension systems “selfish,” saying it was “bizarre” that they would protest the proposal to cut their retirement benefits.

During an interview on WVLC radio in Campbellsville on Tuesday, Bevin compared protesting teachers to people who hoarded rationed goods during World War II.

Alexandra Kanik

In July, Kentucky will start an experiment with how some low-income residents get their health insurance. The project, known as Kentucky HEALTH, affects a portion of people who have Medicaid coverage.

And this interactive calculator, developed by WFPL News, aims to give Medicaid enrollees and others a targeted look at what will happen to an individuals’ health coverage depending on their family size, income and other factors.

J. Tyler Frankin

Gov. Matt Bevin was non-committal when asked what he thinks of President Donald Trump’s proposal to institute tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum.

The policy could benefit Kentucky aluminum manufacturers like Braidy Industries — the company that Bevin helped attract to the state with a package of economic incentives — and Century Aluminum, which announced it would hire 300 new workers in Hancock County if the tariff went into effect.

Benny Becker

A water system in eastern Kentucky that was on the verge of collapse could soon get much needed improvements. Many Martin County, Kentucky, residents were without water for long periods this winter. The crisis drew attention amid a national discussion about infrastructure priorities, and put a spotlight on the sort of water woes that are all too common throughout Appalachian coal country.

Now nearly $5 million in federal funding is on the way to patch up parts of the Martin County system. But the flow of federal money comes amid lingering concerns about management and spending by local officials, and questions about how Martin County’s water system got into such a state of disrepair.


Ryland Barton

Kentucky's attorney general says a public pension overhaul proposed by Republican lawmakers would not withstand court challenges likely to follow if the measure becomes law.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear weighed in on one of the legislative session's defining issues shortly before a Senate committee was scheduled to review the pension bill.

In a letter to lawmakers, Beshear said Wednesday that the bill would break the inviolable contract between the state and its public employees.

Creative Commons

Kentucky's Republican governor cannot force a law firm to give back $4 million it got for negotiating a settlement on behalf of the state with the maker of OxyContin, a judge ruled Monday.

Kentucky sued Purdue Pharma, makers of the addictive opioid-based prescription painkiller, in 2007. The case languished in the courts for nearly 10 years before former Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway settled the case for $24 million at the end of 2015, just a few days before he left office.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says current gun and murder laws didn’t discourage recent school shootings, so people shouldn’t look to gun restrictions to prevent future mass shootings.

“What other law would a child who’s willing to break those three laws have obeyed that would have precluded something like this from happening,” Bevin said during an interview with Steve Inskeep on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Thinkstock

This week at the state legislature, a new bill overhauling the public pension system was finally filed and it’s a lot different from the proposal made by Gov. Matt Bevin last fall. But, it still reduces benefits to many current and most future state employees while promising massive infusions of cash into the pension systems. Listen to this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled in the player below.


Thinkstock

Under a new Republican proposal to overhaul Kentucky’s pension systems, most state workers hired since 2014 would no longer get a guaranteed return on their retirement investments in the event of a poorly-performing stock market.

Under the “hybrid cash-balance” plan provided under the new pension bill, lawmakers have only pledged that the accounts won’t lose money during a market downturn.

“It basically shifts more of the risk over to the employee for the investment returns compared to the current plan,” said Jason Bailey with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

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