The Latest: Review but no committee vote on pension overhaul
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on a proposal to overhaul Kentucky’s public pension systems (all times local):
Retired teachers and other opponents of legislation to overhaul Kentucky’s public pension systems have flocked to the state Capitol complex to voice their opposition.
The measure received its first committee hearing Wednesday, but no vote was taken.
Republican Sen. Joe Bowen reviewed proposed changes to the bill during the hearing before the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
One of the biggest changes deals with a cost-of-living raise for retired teachers.
They now get a 1.5 percent raise each year. The original bill would cut that raise to 0.75 percent, but the proposed substitute would give them a 1 percent increase each year until the retirement system is 90 percent funded.
Bowen says the committee will vote once members and stakeholders have time to review the changes. Someone from the audience called out: “We’ll be back.”
Kentucky’s attorney general says a public pension overhaul proposed by Republican lawmakers would not withstand court challenges likely to follow if the measure becomes law.
Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear weighed in on one of the legislative session’s defining issues shortly before a Senate committee was scheduled to review the pension bill.
In a letter to lawmakers, Beshear said Wednesday that the bill would break the inviolable contract between the state and its public employees.
Beshear says that contract would be broken because the bill would reduce or alter guaranteed benefits. For teachers, he says it would reduce cost-of-living adjustments and cap use of sick time. For some other public employees, he says it would unlawfully change how retirement is calculated.
Beshear warned the measure would draw numerous lawsuits if enacted. And he predicts the state would lose in court.