NewsCovering Kentucky


Some Lawmakers Briefed On Gov. Bevin’s New Pension Bill

Posted at 4:50 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 18:26:56-04

(LEX 18) — It hasn’t been made public yet, but some lawmakers have been briefed on the governor’s new pension bill.

Frankfort will soon be filled with lawmakers again as Gov. Matt Bevin prepares to call them back for a special session. The topic they need to address is a huge spike in pension costs for the quasi-governmental groups, like regional universities and local health departments, a spike that will happen July 1 if nothing is done.

“In some cases, health departments would be paying for example 90% of salary toward the pension contribution,” said LEX 18 political analyst Bob Babbage.

Lawmakers tried to tackle the problem by passing House Bill 358. but the governor vetoed it, saying parts of it were illegal.

“There are parts of it that are incorrect, including parts that are just not legally allowed. You’re not allowed to take away, under any circumstance and for any reason, somebody’s pension check after they’ve already earned,” he said.

The governor’s team has a new bill, and several lawmakers were briefed on it Tuesday. Babbage said so far, it looks like the bill has support behind it.

“The legislative leadership, for the most part, have seen it. Other legislators will get it. There’s a wide audience over the course of the last 24, 48 hours has made the review and basically signed off in the positive,” Babbage said.

A statement from Kentucky Government Retirees said, “The new pension bill increases overall costs, compels the nation’s worst-funded state pension plan to serve as a creditor, and encourages employers to force employees out of the state retirement plan. It is bad funding policy and should be summarily rejected by the General Assembly. We urge the legislature to pass a simple one-year extension of the current discounted employer contribution rate and explore funding options in the 2020 session so that quasi-government employers can begin making the full contributions to this fragile pension fund.”