SPECIAL SESSION: House Panel passes Governor's Pension Relief Plan

Bill passes State Government Commitee in 11-8 vote
Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 20, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A House committee passed the governor's plan for pension cost relief Saturday, the second day of the special session.

The Kentucky House of Representatives' State Government Committee approved House Bill 1 by an 11-8 vote this afternoon. Two other options presented by Democrats were voted down earlier in the day.

House Bill One would offer new options for regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies, such as county health departments and mental health departments, to help them keep up with pension costs. The options include freezing their contributions or exiting the pension plan altogether.

Republican Representative Jason Nemes says he has full confidence the bill will pass in the full House.

"We have the votes. It'll pass the house on Monday, it'll pass the Senate on Wednesday, I predict. And then we can move on with some certainty," Rep. Nemes said.

Democrats have offered two alternative bills, but both failed in committee Saturday. Minority Leader Rocky Adkins says they'll continue to look for Republicans who might vote against House Bill One.

"There was a lot of questions brought up here today. That really brings a lot of reserve among members who are concerned about this because of the opt out provision," Rep. Adkins said.

As House Bill One moves on, Attorney General Andy Beshear is arguing that any legislation passed in this special session could face a legal challenge because of Governor Bevin's proclamation. He claims that Governor Bevin's call to action was too specific in its wording, ordering lawmakers to begin work on his bill.

"The constitution limits the governor to outlining the topics or the subjects that may be considered, not the exact terms that a legislature must adopt," Attorney General Beshear said.

Bryan Sunderland, Governor Bevin's deputy chief of staff, says similar proclamations have been made before and that the Governor is allowed to restrict the topics.

The special session will continue Monday with more discussion on pension reform.