Gov. Bevin to call special session beginning Friday to address pension relief bill

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Matt Bevin has announced he will call the Kentucky General Assembly into a special session Friday.

This comes as the governor has worked for months with lawmakers to secure enough votes for a plan which would help relieve quasi-governmental agencies of an increased pension burden. This includes county health departments and regional universities.

Bevin's initial proposal didn't have enough votes for him to call a special session. The governor's office said the bill "has been thoroughly vetted and improved with input from legislators."

Democratic leaders in the Kentucky House offered their own proposals Thursday. They would freeze retirement payments currently being paid by the quasi-agenices, and it would redirect retiree health insurance payments for five years to the lower-funded pension side.

Brian Sunderland, Bevin's deputy chief of staff, criticized the Democrats' plans, stating their ideas are part of the problem the state is now in. A Republican supermajority in the legislature would allow the party to pass a pension relief bill without Democratic votes.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Derrick Graham stated his party's proposals is cheaper and is on better legal grounds than Gov. Bevin's proposal when they were revealed last week.

Gov. Bevin released a revised plan in early June, but House Speaker David Osborne said it lacked the votes needed without a provision ensuring certain employees in affected agencies are given the option to retain their current benefits. One key change in Gov. Bevin's June proposal would allow affected agencies to wait until next April to decide whether to stay with the Kentucky Retirement Systems at full cost.

The governor plans to issue a proclamation later this week.

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