Bill filed in Kentucky House to address teacher's pensions

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 3:22 PM EST
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Kentucky Representative Scott Lewis, R-Hartford, filed a bill Wednesday in the House of Representatives that deals with teacher's pensions.

House Bill 504 is 108 pages and was filed just hours ahead of the deadline to get proposals in for consideration this session.

Pension reform has been a hot-button topic for a while now. This session comes on the heels of a heavily debated pension bill last year.

Lawmakers rushed that bill through, but ultimately the Supreme Court ruled the process was unconstitutional. Rep. Lewis, a former school superintendent, hopes this new pension reform bill does get the support of teachers groups.

He says it does keep new hires in a defined benefit plan, and he says it addresses some of their other needs.

This bill does only apply to the Teachers' Retirement System and would start with new hires on or after January 1 of next year.

Rep. Travis Brenda, R-Cartersville, who is a teacher says he plans to sign on as a co-sponsor. Lewis believes many others will follow because unlike past tries he says this one is a team effort

"I think this will be a bipartisan bill," said Lewis. "I think there will be some Democrats sign on for it. I hope both parties sign on, and I think they will this is something we can work with.

"Hopefully, as we go on there might be some things that come out that we do change. I think it is a good start with all the groups together working for the betterment for the state and our teachers."

In a statement, Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler said, "Rep. Lewis’ bill HB 504 appears much more promising than any previous pension bill filed in the last couple of years.

"KEA will always advocate for defined benefit pensions for all educators, both current and future. As the session continues, we will this and other bills that impact our members.”

This bill only deals with the Teacher's Retirement System. A bill filed in the Senate on Friday addresses the Kentucky Employees Retirement System and the County Employees Retirement System.