pension

Dispute Lingers Over How Many Votes Needed for Kentucky Pension Bill

Jun 25, 2019
LRC Public Information

A prominent Democratic lawmaker said Kentucky's governor needs more legislative support than Republicans think he does in order to pass his pension-relief proposal in a special legislative session, and she says the vote-count issue could land the matter in court.

State Rep. Joni Jenkins and other House Democratic leaders insist at least 60 votes are needed in the 100-member chamber to pass the proposal because of state constitutional requirements in odd-numbered years for appropriations. Republicans contend only 51 votes are needed to pass the pension measure. Republicans hold a 61-39 advantage over Democrats in the House.

Judge: Kentucky Must Pay Fees, Costs in Pension Plan Case

Jun 25, 2019
Ryland Barton

A Kentucky judge has ordered the state to pay more than $72,000 in attorneys' fees and costs in a lawsuit over the release of an economic analysis of Gov. Matt Bevin's administration's analysis of the 2017 pension reform plan.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Monday the Bevin administration intentionally violated the Kentucky Open Records Act in refusing to release a copy of the analysis. The Courier Journal reports Shepherd ordered the analysis be released and directed the state to pay fees and costs to the person requesting it.

Bevin Writes to Lawmakers to Outline Changes to Pension Plan

Jun 6, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Looking to break the gridlock on his pension-relief proposal, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has reached out to lawmakers with several changes he's agreed to make in hopes of winning enough support to have the measure taken up in a special legislative session.

The proposal aims to provide relief for some state-funded agencies struggling with surging pension payments. Bevin has spent weeks trying to build support for his plan, which would replace a measure he vetoed in April after lawmakers ended this year's regular session.

"I ask every single member of the General Assembly to support this legislation so that we can prevent the completely avoidable loss of services, loss of jobs and loss of funding for our pension system," Bevin said in a letter dated Wednesday that was sent to lawmakers.

Speaker: Bevin Still Lacks House Votes for His Pension Bill

May 15, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration hasn't built enough "comfort level" among lawmakers to get his pension-relief proposal through the Republican-led House in a potential special legislative session, the House speaker said Wednesday.

Speaker David Osborne said discussions continue in an effort to "try to get those votes" for Bevin's plan, which aims to provide relief to some state-funded agencies struggling with surging retirement payments. The proposal would replace a pension measure vetoed by the governor in April after lawmakers had ended this year's regular legislative session.

"As of right now, I don't believe that there is a comfort level that the necessary votes are there to pass that particular proposal," Osborne told reporters.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin has vetoed a bill that would have provided some financial relief to regional universities and agencies like local health departments that are facing massive increases in the amount they have to pay in to the state pension system.

Bevin also said he intends to call a special legislative session to address the issue before July 1 of this year.

House Bill 358 would have allowed the agencies to exit the pension systems and create their own retirement plans, but would have increased the state’s unfunded pension liability, which is currently among the worst in the nation.

Thinkstock

On the last day that Kentucky lawmakers could file bills, a freshman Republican filed a bill to move future Kentucky teachers into a new pension system.

The legislation is the latest attempt to address the low funding levels of Kentucky’s retirement systems for public workers by altering benefits.

Rep. Scott Lewis, a Republican from Hartford and sponsor of the bill, says the new proposal would still provide teachers with “defined benefit” pensions that guarantee monthly payments upon retirement, but it wouldn’t be as generous as what current teachers get.

Lisa Autry

A new class of state lawmakers is headed to Frankfort for the 2019 Kentucky General Assembly. 

Democrat Patti Minter is among 36 freshmen legislators who will be sworn into office on January 8.  She expects the 30-day session to be dominated by pension reform after the state Supreme Court struck down a law that passed in this year’s legislature. 

Minter says she was shocked by Governor Matt Bevin calling a special session this month that didn’t produce a new pension law.

"The idea that the governor would spend $132,000 of the taxpyers' money just to try to shovel through a bill that had been declared unconstitutional, because he doesn't think he can pass it during the general session, that's just subversion of democracy," stated Minter.

Minter who won an election for the 20th District House seat that represents part of Warren County.  The seat belongs to retiring State Representative and former House Speaker Jody Richards.  In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Dr. Minter looked ahead to her new term.


J. Tyler Franklin

A little less than 48 hours after Gov. Matt Bevin summoned lawmakers to Frankfort to make changes to the state’s pension systems, the legislature voted to end the special session.

The development is a blow to the governor, who called the special session days after the state Supreme Court struck down a new pension law that Bevin signed earlier this year.

Bevin defended his decision to call the session despite the $65,000-per day cost.

Ryland Barton

After Gov. Matt Bevin called a surprise legislative session on Monday afternoon, state lawmakers traveled to Frankfort and began working on a new attempt to overhaul the state’s pension systems.

Following hours of closed-door discussion, Republican leaders of the legislature filed two different versions of a new pension bill. One is similar to legislation struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court and the other is a new proposal brought by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Lisa Autry

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a law that made changes to one of the country’s worst-funded public pension systems.  The state’s Democratic attorney general called it a "landmark win for all our public servants" while the Republican governor warned the ruling would "destroy the financial condition of Kentucky." 

In a 7-0 decision, justices found that me manner in which the General Assembly passed pension reform legislation this year violated the state Constitution.

J.Tyler Franklin/WFPL

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has posted a video criticizing the Courier Journal after the newspaper announced this week that it’s partnering with the independent media nonprofit ProPublica on a year-long investigative project. 

The Courier Journal says the project with ProPublica will examine an agency of Kentucky state government, continuing what the newspaper describes as its 150-year tradition "of protecting taxpayers, safeguarding the environment and holding public officials and government agencies accountable."

In a 3-minute video, Governor Bevin ripped into the investigative team.

“The Courier Journal, which pretends that it’s an actual news organization or a publication, is so remarkably biased they are now full in bed with this particular organization ProPublica.”


Ryland Barton

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments over the state’s new pension law on Thursday, months after teachers and other government workers descended on Frankfort to protest changes to retirement benefits.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and a lawyer representing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s office argued over whether legislators violated the state constitution by rushing the bill to passage in a matter of hours this spring. Changes to retirement benefits in the pension bill mostly affect future state employees but also tweak benefits for some current workers.

Pension Arguments to be Aired on Statewide Television

Sep 12, 2018
Public Domain

Arguments before the Kentucky Supreme Court about the future of the state's public pension system will be broadcast live on statewide television.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Supreme Court is partnering with Kentucky Educational Television to broadcast the arguments on Sept. 20th. It will be the second time in the court's history its proceedings will be aired live on TV.

Ryland Barton

A judge has denied Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to reconsider a ruling that struck down changes to Kentucky’s pension system, which were originally set to go into effect this weekend.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd blocked the pension law last month, saying that lawmakers had violated the state Constitution by not following proper procedure.

Bevin had asked Shepherd to amend his ruling to determine if the pension bill violated the state’s “inviolable contract” — a provision that protects state worker benefits from being tinkered with after they’ve been hired.

Chief Justice Won't Remove Judge in Pension Case

Jun 6, 2018
Public Domain

Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. has denied a request by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to disqualify a judge from ruling on a lawsuit challenging the legality of a bill that overhauls the state's pension system.

Bevin signed a law earlier this year that would move all new teachers into a hybrid pension system. It would also change how current teachers use sick days to calculate their retirement benefits. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued to block the law, saying it was unconstitutional.

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