Local representatives weigh in; Kentucky Pension Relief Bill expected to pass
Governor Matt Bevin's approach to providing relief to universities, health departments and other quasi-governmental agencies from crippling pension costs passed in the state house today 52-46.
13 News spoke with both state representatives Steve Sheldon and Patti Minter about that vote and what it means for those affected.
"I see this whole bill as something that we are putting back in the hands of our managers and directors at these facilities. Whether it's the president of the college, the manager or director of the health department. It puts the options in front of them instead of leaving it to the government to run these things," said 17th District State Representative, Steve Sheldon.
"What it does is it gives the employers the opportunity to opt out of the state pension system. They can take their employees out. It gives all that power in the hands of the employer," said 20th District State Representative, Patti Minter.
"If you did not vote yes for this bill you were simply in a situation where the quasi's were going to get their pension costs doubled with the very day we walked out of here. we would have seen layoffs and our quasi's struggle," said Sheldon.
"I was one of the 46 people that voted no today and again the fact that the democrats were joined by 9 republicans I think really speaks volumes," said Minter.
Some feel that Governor Bevin's call for Special Session was too restrictive. Here's what both representatives had to say:
"We really didn't feel like it was too restrictive. We went in and I think the process took care of itself. The speaker could have easily gaveled out the minute he came in. There's not much more independence than that. We had the opportunity to vote yes or not on this bill," said Sheldon.
"The call was very restrictive. it basically sought to write the bill for us. The governor absolutely has the power under the Kentucky Constitution to call a special session and to set the terms of the call," said Minter.
The bill would be retroactive for July 1st and delay higher rates for one year. It would also offer those groups to pay off their liabilities to the state pension plan either in a lump sum or through installments over 30 years and then get out.
Opponents say the bill is written in a way that pressures the groups to move their benefits into a less-generous 401-K type retirement plan.
The bill now goes to the state senate where it is expected to pass on Wednesday.