Long-awaited pension reform legislation could be introduced as early as Wednesday, lawmakers say

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By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The wait may be over. The long-awaited public pension reform bill will be introduced Wednesday or Thursday, at the latest, lawmakers said.

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, indicated legislation will begin in the Senate, as early as Wednesday.

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne said the much anticipated pension reform bill will be revealed Wednesday, starting with the Senate. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

Speaking to reporters after they adjourned on Tuesday afternoon, Osborne was asked if there is concern among House Republicans about moving teachers from the current defined benefits plan to a hybrid defined contributions plan.

“That has always been a healthy topic for discussion,” he said. “There are some who feel very, very strongly about a pure defined contribution; there are some who feel very strongly about a pure benefit. It’s something that has created a lot of conversation and a lot disagreement. But it’s one we put a lot of thought and study into.”

As for fully funding the Actuarial Required Contribution, or ARC, during the two-year budget cycle starting in July, Osborne said: “That has been our commitment and certainly it’s a point of discussion in our budget conversations, but that has been our commitment throughout.”

He sees nothing to change that stance. “Certainly, everything becomes a policy decision at that point in time, but we feel like it is important that we make that commitment and show that we honor that commitment as we go forward.

“We have worked to find the best possible solution for this issue that will both insure long-term viability to the systems and also be something that we can pass.”

When asked if he feels a sigh of relief that there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, he said “it has been a frustrating process.” He said the process can be a slow one when lawmakers decided to look everywhere for options.

“We made a commitment that we were going to proceed with caution and with as much information as we possibly could. So, while frustrating, it’s been a process that we feel we have to go through.”

Osborne says he still hasn’t seen the specific bill that he believes will be dropped Wedneday in the Senate.

And there could be another delay, but only for a day.

Reporters who spoke with Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said he indicated the bill would not be introduced until Thursday.

The 2018 General Assembly reaches the halfway point of the 60-day session on Wednesday.

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