Bevin pension relief bill passes committee, opposing plans fail

Democrats introduce two pension plans during Special Session

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - A Special Session addressing pension relief for quasi government agencies continued Saturday.

The Kentucky General Assembly met for day two of a possible five day stretch.

The mid-summer legislative session was set in motion by an April veto made by Governor Matt Bevin, in which, he said he’d call a special session to address the issue before pension costs rised in July.

Democrats introduced two plans Saturday as alternatives to the governor’s plan, but their hopes were ultimately squashed as both bills failed in committee.

House bills two and three were proposed by Democrats.

HB 2 offers up their quasi pension relief plan, which shifts billions of dollars worth of retiree health insurance money to help fund quasi pensions and freezes contribution rates at 49 percent instead of in the 84 percent level that went into effect this month.

Proponents said it’s the most fiscally sound of all the plans offered, but those against the bill raised concern about state agencies loosing funds to help pay for it.

Some called it a temporary solution.

“That is faster, cheaper, legal and provides certainly and stability,” Rep Joe Graviss, (D) who sponsored the HB 2, said. “It doesn’t break the inviolable contract.”

House Bill 3 solely froze contribution rates at 49 percent - something included in the Republican relief option, although HB 3 would’ve served as insurance of a freeze if governor Bevin decided to veto a bill because it didn’t meet his specific proclamation or it got tangled in a legal battle.

HB 1, which lays out Bevins desires, passed committee.

It would allow quasi government agencies, like some health departments, mental health and rape crisis centers, to pay their way out of the pension system in one lump sum, over time or stay in and face higher costs.

“I’m willing to do the hard work to try to keep coming up with these answers, but if we don’t pass legislation in this special session, these quasi entities, many of them are going to go out of business,” Rep James Tipton, (R) who sponsored HB 1, said.

House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins noted what he perceived as discontent among a few republican committee voters over HB 1 and questioned what that’ll mean for a final House vote Monday.

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