Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

No Vote On Pension Bill As Teachers, State Workers Protest

No Vote On Pension Bill As Teachers, State Workers Protest

The bill must go back before the Senate and House for a vote to approve the bill with the amendment.

GOP lawmakers say the bill would save taxpayers $3.2 billion over the next 20 years. Senate Bill 48, also known as the Child Bride Bill, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and will now be voted on in the Senate.

Capitol observers have been tuned in for months to find out what form lawmakers' public pension reform plans might take and how legislators would cast their first votes on the issue.

The Senate's Republicans majority met behind closed doors most of the day.

Senate President Robert Stivers said as late as Thursday evening that there were enough votes to pass the bill, which would alter benefits for state workers, especially teachers.

Stivers added that senators wanted more time to have "a better comfort level" with the bill.

A bill that would require government entities to establish formal sexual harassment policies passed the House, but in the Senate, where sexual harassment scandals cost multiple members their jobs past year, the bill stalled out. "That's what we're doing". The Senate, meanwhile, approved a budget amendment that would institute deep cuts to schools in the coming years.

The state Senate was scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 1 Friday, which would temporarily reduce the annual cost-of-living raises for retired teachers. "Your school boards are your biggest employers in nearly every small county", said Jones.

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Without reform, we will soon see drastic cuts to education, transportation, public safety - all of which are critical to the business community and to all Kentuckians.

A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday that lawmakers were expected to gather signatures in support of 529-related legislation in order to have it placed on a call for the special session. It is far from over.

Throughout the week, Bevin said he would reserve his opinions on the legislation until it was on his desk. Teachers will not miss instructional time, said Kelly Beckett, Elkhorn Middle School sixth-grade social studies teacher and president of the local Franklin County Education Association chapter.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has said he wouldn't defend the bill if it became law and was challenged in court.

Bevin said teachers shouldn't be upset by changes to retirement benefits, which he said would help save the pension system.

Kentucky's public pension systems are among the worst-funded in the country. If they're upset about it, it's because their either ill-informed of willfully blind.

"And I would point out, that this budget not only passed by day 60, it also passed unanimously in both houses and that is very unusual as well", said House Speaker Tim Armstead, (R) West Virginia. Their leadership has their reasons for fomenting things, God bless 'em.

Jones speculated that lawmakers from rural areas were feeling pressure to vote against the bill.

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