Kentucky Senate Opts Not to Vote on Pension Reforms Friday

A group of teachers gather outside the Senate chambers to protest Kentucky Senate Bill 1 a bill that proposes changes to the state funded pension system for teachers at the Kentucky State Capitol Friday

Kentucky Senate Opts Not to Vote on Pension Reforms Friday

A state Senate committee voted 7-4 to advance Senate bill 1.

"That's a useful bill, but it doesn't have anything to do with gun laws", Murphy said.

The changes could save taxpayers around $3.2 billion over the next 20 years, according to a state-hired consulting firm. Most of those savings would come from changes to the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System. Cost of living increases were frozen for state employees in 2013 but the bill only proposes a cut for teachers because they have paid into their cost of living increases and because they don't collect social security which provides cost of living adjustments.

State workers hired since January 1, 2014 already receive cash-balance plans that guarantee retirement accounts grow by at least 4 percent every year. "Right now, every incident that comes up, it seems to be a mental health-related occurrence, so we need to find some way to really address that issue without penalizing people who have a mental illness or making them feel like there's a stigma to it so they don't seek treatment for it".

Senate President Stivers said the decision not to vote on the bill had nothing to do with the demonstration of teachers rallying against it in the hallway but the people screaming those chants found that hard to believe. The bill will head to the full Senate's consideration upon the panel's approval.

Collectively, the pension funds which cover state workers, teachers, state police, city and county employees and non-certified school employees face an unfunded liability of at least $43 billion. "The Senate has acted decisively today to enhance safety measures, and provide students, parents, teachers and staff peace of mind during the school day".

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"The changes we made were significant to him", Galvano said of the amendment that removed most classroom teachers from the proposal to arm school personnel, called the "guardian" program.

Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler says a teacher strike is illegal in Kentucky. "The way I see it", said Staviski. "If they are upset about it, it's either they are ill-informed or willfully blind ... But I don't think they can put lipstick on that pig to make me vote for it".

The current version of the bill would move future teachers out of defined benefit pensions -which guarantee benefits from retirement until death - and into "hybrid" cash balance retirement plans. Cheers erupted from educators in the audience Wednesday when one Democratic lawmaker suggested legalizing casino gambling and putting all of the taxes collected into the pension system.

He woke up thinking the measure would pass, otherwise it wouldn't have been on the agenda.

Attorney General Andy Beshear also took time to speak with teachers in the rotunda.

But the bill, SB 140, which was passed by the House almost unanimously, eliminates the pregnancy requirement and limits any marriage of minors to 17 years of age and only if they satisfy a series of requirements added by the Senate earlier in the week.

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