Kentucky Judge Rejects Gov.’s Pension Ruling Request

Bevin has 30 days to file an appeal with state Supreme Court.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s request for a judge to revisit his ruling on a controversial pension law has been denied.

Judge Phillip Shepherd of the Franklin Circuit Court struck down the pension law, which cut the benefits of Kentucky’s public pensioners, on June 20.  Attorney General Andy Beshear had previously sued Bevin to have the law thrown out as it was passed while tucked into a sewage bill at the end of the legislative session.

Shepherd also considered the bill to be an appropriations bill, which requires a majority vote in each chamber. Although the pension law had passed in a 49-46 vote in the 100-member House, an appropriations bill needs 51 votes for full recognition.

Following Shepherd’s June ruling, the governor’s administration filed a request to have the judge amend or vacate his decision, which was declined on Wednesday after Shepherd heard arguments on that motion.

The governor’s general counsel, Steve Pitt, pushed for the reversal based on whether the new pension reforms violate the state constitution’s rights of the public workers rather than procedural issues. Pitt said the law does not violate these rights and that Shepherd ruled on that issue to provide guidance to future legislatures. Pitt also argued that parts of the bill should not be considered appropriations and receive individual attention.

Shepherd rejected Pitt’s discrepancies. Bevin now has 30 days to appeal the motion, and should he choose to do so, he’ll have to file it with the Kentucky Supreme Court.

In addition, the attorney general, a Democrat, announced his bid to run for governor next year. Bevin, a Republican, has not yet said if he’ll campaign for re-election.

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