Kentucky Senate sends pension reform bill back to committee without vote

Kentucky Senate sends pension reform bill back to committee without vote

The Legislature Today is West Virginia's source for daily legislative news and information.

Asked if he was anxious about the possibility of a strike, Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said: "The reality is this, I'm saving the pension system".

In a move that could evolve into a statewide strike, hundreds of teachers from dozens of schools across Kentucky participated in "walk-ins" Thursday to protest a Senate bill that would slash teacher retirement benefits. We thought it was unfortunate that for a second time in two weeks last week, SB 48, also known as the "child bride" bill, was pulled off the agenda for a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee amid concerns about the rights of parents to allow children to Wednesday at a younger age.

Nearly all of them held signs ranging from "A Pension is a Promise" to "Do we need a bake sale to fund this?" and they booed or cheered as Senators ascended the steps, depending on the Senator's support or opposition to the bill.

What hasn't been decided is exactly where education stands.

Legislative leaders have the option of either extending the session into next week, or calling for a special session at some point, or both. "We're giving them all these tools and they're apparently not doing anything, so if we're just talking about passing more gun laws just for the sake of passing more gun laws, what for?"

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos threw her weight behind what she said was the only approach that could muster broad support after a brief but contentious visit Wednesday to Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and faculty were gunned down on Valentine's Day.

Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, summed up the current law pretty accurately when she said: "This is legalized rape of children". "I would have been a single mother, possibly, and I think I would have done well".

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But the state's Republican leaders say the pension systems would likely fail without the changes.

"We hope so. That's our plan anyway".

But House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, has said he thinks the bill will ultimately pass the House and Stivers said his discussions with House leadership indicate it will also pass that chamber. "And we can go home and say we have worked on it, and in the end I think that's what the governor, I think that's what we all want".

Among the changes in the bill passed by the House was an amendment that would make it a felony to possess a firearm on school grounds with the intent to harm. He can, however, veto specific line items in the state budget.

The proposed changes would also affect school boards, requiring them to pay 2 percent of every new hire's salary into the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System.

"The idea that we are hanging onto this as somehow a sacred thing is silliness", Bevin said.

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

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