Pension Oversight Board meets in Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers met in Frankfort Monday to discuss a pension-relief bill ahead of a special session expected to be called this summer.

Governor’s deputy chief of staff (right), state budget director (center) & KRS independent actuary testify on pension relief proposal. (WKYT)

Bryan Sunderland, Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Matt Bevin, who said last week he believes  enough support exists to pass the bill, presented an outline of the proposal. The revamped bill includes five changes made from the first draft given to lawmakers during the legislative session this spring.

The proposed bill includes cost relief for one year to give workers time to figure out what to do, and make plans for their future. Workers can choose to stay in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) or opt out and move to a separate plan, such as a 401(k)-style plan.

Opt-outs would begin April 2020 with several options for paying liabilities, including a lump sum or installments.

The bill would have to be considered in a special session, which the Governor has yet to call. If nothing is done, quasi-governmental agencies and regional universities would face higher pension rates effective July 1.

"I believe that it strikes that necessary balance between protecting the services, the employees, the pensions they've been promised, and making sure that we're putting as much into those pensions as we can to make sure the Kentucky Retirement Systems can actually afford to give to those pension checks as they've been promised," said Sunderland.

The proposal also includes specific language to ensure lawmakers will have the chance to make changes to, and provide funding for the bill during the 2020 legislative session.

Democratic Party leaders say they would also like a chance to discuss their own proposals, which they say are faster and cheaper than those in the current bill.

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