Grim Fate Looms Over Kentucky Pension Reform

Stivers pessimistic as 10 days remain in regular session.

With 10 days left in the regular legislative session and a bill surrounded by controversy, a Kentucky pension reform may again fall by the wayside.

“I don’t see a lot of hope for it. That’s just the reality,” Senate President Robert Stivers told the Courier-Journal. “I am looking at legislation to introduce later on. I do not want to come into a special session, but it may be necessary.” Stivers could not be reached for comment.

As teachers and school faculty continued their protests against Senate Bill 1 to the point where the bill was sent back to the committee last week amid alleged illegalities Attorney General Andy Beshear found within its context, Gov. Matt Bevin fanned the flames Wednesday in a radio interview with WVLC.

“If they get what they wish for, they will not have a pension system for the younger people who are still working. And that to me is remarkably selfish and shortsighted. But we’re going to try to save people in spite of themselves,” he told the station.

The issues that members of the troubled pension system face are many, primarily a clause which aims to cut their cost of living adjustments from 1.5% to 1%. Beshear’s office had sent several letters and posted videos to his social media accounts notifying 21 legal issues with the original bill as well as its substitute, the current version of SB 1.

A pension reform had been touted by Bevin for most of last year, in which he called for a special legislative session in the fall. However, that fell through after a scandal within the legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer was optimistic about the bill passing, but lamented to the Courier-Journal that all of the vilification surrounding SB 1 was creating a toxic environment for the legislature. He warned of “calamitous” results should the bill or something like it not pass in time.

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