A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pension bill could force some Kentucky counties to raise taxes in order to receive state assistance

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Under a new pension funding proposal pending before the Kentucky General Assembly, some counties could be asked to increase their public-health taxes to help pay for their health departments’ pension liability. “Because we’ve been giving a free ride to some of these guys, they haven’t had to go to their communities and ask for a tax increase,”...

Health departments, employees making tough choices in wake of passage of Bevin’s pension bill

Kentucky’s health departments and their employees face some difficult decisions in the wake of the pension legislation passed in the recent special session of the General Assembly. The law written and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin freezes the pension costs of health departments for another year, at 49 percent of payroll, avoiding an increase to 83 percent, which would have forced layoffs and program...

Governor signs pension bill into law following final approval in senate, bringing end to special session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Senate gave final approval for a pension bill providing relief to the regional public universities and other quasi-governmental agencies on Wednesday, followed quickly by Gov. Matt Bevin signing the measure into law, and bringing an end to the special session after five days. Following two hours of floor debate, the measure passed the Senate 27-11, with two Republicans,...

House Republicans say additional language is still needed in Governor’s proposed pension plan

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Despite a letter Gov. Matt Bevin sent to lawmakers Wednesday evening with changes to his proposed pension bill for the regional public universities, House Republicans said on Thursday more work is needed. House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, says the plan appears to lack the votes needed without a provision that allows Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, those who have been...

Pension bill passes in waning moments, allows public universities, agencies to opt out of KERS

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today In the waning moments of the 2019 General Assembly, lawmakers passed public pension legislation that will affect the regional public universities and quasi-governmental agencies, such as health departments, who are in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System. 
House Bill 358 was changed by the Senate and the House would not agree to the Senate version, so a free conference...

Gov. Matt Bevin: Legislators must address Kentucky’s pension crisis

When I ran for Governor in 2015, I launched a seven-point plan outlining my vision for moving Kentucky forward, entitled the “Blueprint For A Better Kentucky.” The plan was ambitious and unapologetic in its call to change government, grow our economy and enact policies that would modernize education, healthcare and our tax code. Above all, however, I noted that no matter what we accomplish in any...

KY Supreme Court strikes down state’s pension reform law (‘sewer bill’) passed earlier this year

Staff report The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously upheld this morning a ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd striking down the state’s pension reform law passed by the 2018 General Assembly. Teachers protested in Frankfort earlier this year. It was unanimous. It was commonly known as the “sewer bill” because a quick process used by majority Republicans substituted the...

Supreme Court this week: To hear pension bill in Sept.; reverses L’ville election; hears right to work

Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court acted quickly Friday to accept the direct appeal of a Franklin Circuit Court ruling on the public pension reform bill passed by the 2018 General Assembly and scheduled the case to be heard in September. 
Earlier in the day, Gov. Matt Bevin’s general counsel filed a notice of appeal of a ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd that declared the...

Dorsey Ridley: Voting for legislation that has not been made fully transparent is not in public’s interest

The last five days of this session were framed by the voices of citizens from around the commonwealth making their wishes known. Thousands came to the Capitol daily, chanting and marching from early in the morning to late in the evening. The protests culminated on Monday, the 58th day of the 60-day session, when teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, public employees, and retirees descended...

This Week in Frankfort: Pension bill gets to Gov.; a few others advance, including abortion bill

Efforts to reform the state’s public pension systems have taken a winding road and faced uncertain prospects at times since the issue came to the forefront of public discussion last year. But after making changes based on input received from stakeholders throughout the General Assembly’s 2018 session, public pension legislation reached the end of its legislative journey this week as lawmakers approved...

John Schickel: Activity picking up in Frankfort, long hours spent trying to resolve issues with pension bill

Last week was the busiest yet in Frankfort with a number of bills moving through committees and on to the Senate and House floors for votes. The halls are starting to get crowded as we are visited by lots of statewide advocacy groups that championed their great causes and rallied in the Capitol Rotunda. Some of the groups visiting me this week were officials from our school system, Boone County fire...