Special Session

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Kentucky’s health departments have another year to figure out if their workers will stay in the state retirement system or exit, following the passage of Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension bill on Wednesday. But the decision won’t be an easy one, and it may not even be feasible for many health departments to leave the system.

For years county health department workers got a pension — a guaranteed benefit retirement account. Employees hired since 2014 have already been moved into 401k-type plans. And now older workers are at risk of having their pension benefits frozen if the health departments they work for choose to exit the pension system under Bevin’s bill.

J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Matt Bevin signed the so-called pension “relief” bill into law after a short special legislative session. Attorney General Andy Beshear threatened to sue over the session, saying that Bevin had blocked lawmakers from considering other proposals. And Amy McGrath addressed the bumpy launch to her U.S. Senate campaign.

Listen to this week’s show:


J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has signed into law a pension bill aimed at relieving regional universities and community social services agencies from crushing retirement costs.

The signing ceremony on Wednesday came a couple of hours after the bill won final passage in the Senate. Bevin was joined by lawmakers and stakeholder groups at the signing.

The Republican governor called lawmakers into a special session last Friday to take up his pension proposal. The bill — reflecting Bevin's plan — narrowly passed the GOP-led House on Monday and won overwhelming support in the Republican-dominated Senate.

 


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Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension bill continues to advance through the Republican-led legislature, easily passing the Kentucky Senate’s State Government Committee on Tuesday.

Lawmakers are meeting for a special legislative session called by Bevin to address surging pension costs for the state’s regional universities and 118 “quasi” state agencies like health departments and rape crisis centers.

 

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension bill narrowly passed the Kentucky House of Representatives after hours of debate Monday. It now heads to the state Senate, where it is expected to have more support.

Lawmakers are in the middle of a special legislative session to deal with a massive spike in pension costs for regional universities and small state agencies like health departments, rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.

Republican leaders of the legislature are only considering one proposal — a bill crafted by Bevin that would all the agencies to “buy out” of the state’s ailing pension system and incentivize them to move employees into less-generous 401k-style retirement plans.

J. Tyler Franklin

Attorney General Andy Beshear says that any legislation passed during Gov. Matt Bevin’s special session on pensions is at risk of a legal challenge.

Beshear says that Bevin’s official proclamation that called the special session was too narrowly drawn, preventing lawmakers from considering alternate proposals.

During a news conference on Saturday, Beshear called on Bevin to amend his call for the special session.

 

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Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to allow regional state universities and other state agencies to buy out of Kentucky’s struggling pension system has passed a legislative panel.

The measure would allow the agencies to avoid a massive spike in pension costs. It would also incentivize them to freeze pension benefits for their employees and move them into 401k-type retirement plans.

 


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This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Matt Bevin’s special legislative session on pensions is finally taking place and Democrats think he’s tied the legislature’s hands.

Bevin and Democratic rival Andy Beshear clashed during a debate at the Kentucky Farm Bureau, and Kentucky lawmakers responded to President Trump’s inflammatory tweets.

Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has another edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled. 

 


Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature has convened to consider Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to help regional universities and “quasi” state agencies deal with a massive spike in pension costs.

Bevin summoned lawmakers to Frankfort for the special legislative session, where only a bill that meets a 12-point list of requirements outlined by the governor in his call for the session will be allowed to pass.

Bevin has been rallying support for his proposal for months and Republican leaders of the legislature say they have enough votes to pass it.

It's Official: Bevin Calls Special Session for Pension Relief

Jul 15, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

A long-anticipated special legislative session will convene later this week in an effort to deliver relief for regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies strapped by surging pension costs, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced Monday.

Lawmakers will meet starting at 8 a.m. Friday at the state Capitol in Frankfort, the Republican governor's office said. An official proclamation listing the special session's agenda will be issued later this week, Bevin's office said in a news release.

It takes at least five working days for lawmakers to get a bill through the General Assembly. Lawmakers are expected to meet this Saturday and Monday through Wednesday of next week before wrapping up the session, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said.

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Democrats in Kentucky’s House of Representatives have unveiled two bills to try and address surging pension costs currently being experienced by the state’s regional universities and small agencies like health departments.

The proposals come as Gov. Matt Bevin has been trying to rally support for his own bill and has promised to call a special session for state lawmakers to vote on it.

 


J. Tyler Franklin

When Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed the pension bill that passed out of the legislature last month, he promised to call lawmakers back to Frankfort to do it all over again in a special legislative session before July 1.

But the timing of the yet-to-be-announced session is complicated, because state universities affected by the measure say they need clarity on whether they will face massive increases in the amount they have to contribute to the pension systems when they start writing their budgets on June 1.

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.

Bevin: Special Session Will Happen After Aug. 15

Jun 6, 2017
Alix Mattingly

Kentucky's Republican governor says a special session of the state legislature will happen after Aug. 15.

The state legislature adjourned for the year in April. But Gov. Matt Bevin has said he will call them back for a special session to overhaul the state's tax code and public pension system.

Tuesday, Bevin sent a letter to all 138 members of the General Assembly and told them he does not plan to call a special session before Aug. 15 "out of respect to our families and summer schedules."