Senate passes pension reform bill, heads to Gov. Bevin's desk

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill aiming to reform the state's pension plan by a vote of 22-15 hours after the House narrowly passed the bill.

Photo courtesy: MGN

The bill now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin's desk.

A House committee first passed Senate Bill 151, which was originally filed as an act related to wastewater services.

The bill contains elements of Senate Bill 1, which was unsuccessful in its passage.

The bill passed the House committee 11-8, mostly on party lines, with many Democrats voicing fierce opposition to the rushed plan.

"How do you men get up and shave in the morning and not cut your throat?" asked Rep. Tom Burch, D - Louisville.

Other Democrats voiced displeasure saying the nearly 300-page document was just handed to lawmakers minutes before the committee meeting. Rep. Jim Wayne, D - Louisville, shared concerns the bill may be illegal.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bam Carney, R - Campbellsville, say this is a comprehensive reform plan. Carney is an educator who would be directly impacted by this bill if it passes. Carney says this bill will save $300 million in 30 years.

“This is a good compromise plan that addresses many concerns," Carney said, "This is not something I do lightly. This is my retirement. I do not get legislative retirement.”

Carney spoke on the House floor, using his teaching background in an effort to find a compromise between both sides. Protestors could be heard outside of the House floor voicing opposition.


Not all Republicans are in support of SB 151, including Rep. Wesley Morgan, R- Richmond.


Senate Bill 151 contains no changes to cost of living adjustments, which will remain at 1.5 percent. There are no changes to the number of years needed to serve in order to receive benefits. New hires would enter a hybrid cash balance plan.


Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne, R - Prospect, discussed reforms prior to the bill's passage, saying it is important for the public to understand what lawmakers could pass.

"We are going to have to be very very conscious," said Osborne, "We have to have a very detailed explanation of everything we do at this point."

The state's retirement systems are $41 billion short of the money needed to pay benefits over the next 30 years. Kentucky is among the nation's worst-funded pension system.

Teachers started flooding the state capital to voice displeasure with the swift Republican-led action.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



 
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