Pension reform opponents, medical marijuana supporters both suffer setbacks

Updated: Mar. 7, 2018 at 9:01 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Two big crowds following two big issues both ended up going home disappointed Wednesday at the state capital.

The GOP pension reform bill, strongly criticized by teachers, passed a Senate committee and appears headed for approval in this legislative session.

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Teachers and retirees in attendance chanted and cheered loudly before, during, and after the meeting. Chants of, "Shame on you!" could be heard immediately after the vote sending the bill to the Senate floor.

Supporters previously told lawmakers that cutbacks in cost-of-living increases for retirees, and moving new teachers to a 401(k) type plan, would make it more difficult to recruit qualified teachers.

"Does Kentucky want babysitters for teachers?" Claudette Green, a retired teacher asked. "We need the best."

>> VIDEO: Teachers fight against GOP pension reform bill in Frankfort

There was similar disappointment as supporters of medical marijuana opted to delay voting on a bill that would legalize pot for medical use. The decision to delay was made when it became clear supporters did not have enough votes to pass the committee.

"It's overwhelmingly supported by the general public," Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana Executive Director Jaime Mintalvo said. "It's time for medical cannabis to come. There's a lot of patients who are suffering and I think (legislators) know that."

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes released a statement supporting the legalization of medical marijuana.

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It read: "Kentuckians overwhelmingly support medical cannabis. They are tired of waiting and will remember in action at the ballot box in November. Lives, especially those of our veterans, are hanging in the balance."

Supporters said they will make changes to the bill in hopes of finding more votes that might lead to passage.

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