Special session to address Kentucky pension relief begins Friday morning

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky General Assembly will enter a special session Friday morning to address problems related to the state's pension system.

Governor Matt Bevin/Facebook

The General Assembly will convene at 8 a.m. Friday to solely address the issue, which affects quasi-governmental employers including health departments, regional universities and child advocacy centers.

The proclamation calls for the legislature to set the employer contribution rate retroactive to July 1 at 49.47 percent. This is 41.06 percent for pension and 8.41 percent for health insurance for most employees.

It also calls for a one-time window for the colleges and quasi-agencies to opt out of the Kentucky Employees Retirement System by June 30, 2020 "by paying the actuarial costs, by lump-sum or in installments." Those who opt out would have to offer an alternative to their employees.

House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D - Sandy Hook, criticized the proclamation, as it narrowly defines what lawmakers can approve during the session.

“The governor’s call completely crosses the line and makes a mockery of the legislative process," Adkins said in a statement. Matt Bevin only has the power to call and dictate the subject matter of a special session. He does not have the power to write the legislation as well. This is clearly a violation of separation of powers and drives a stake in the heart of legislative independence.”

This comes as Republican Governor Matt Bevin 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.

Despite the GOP-majority legislature, 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" since then.

Democratic lawmakers have also offered a plan to address the problem, but the governor's office dismissed their plan. A Republican supermajority in the legislature would allow the party to pass a pension relief bill without Democratic votes.

Special Session Proclamation by WKYT on Scribd

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