FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - While the pension bill passed by the 2018 General Assembly was later struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court, the language still remains on the books, so legislation was introduced Friday to remove it.
House Minority Caucus Chairman Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort and Rep. Joe Graviss, D-Versailles, both of whom represent thousands of state employees, are sponsoring the legislation and have been joined by the entire Democratic Caucus.
The pension reform legislation was originally a wastewater bill, but was amended in a House committee and approved by the Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate within a seven hour period, a process that the high court unanimously declared unconstitutional.
“As the legislators whose districts have the highest concentration of state employees in Kentucky, we feel it is important that we take this step and finally rid Kentucky of a bill that never should have been approved in the first place,” said Graham. “It was wrong for Kentucky and its public workforce, and the process to pass it, as the Supreme Court ruled, was just as bad.”
Graviss concurs. “I have had many tell me how grateful they are that the ‘sewer’ bill was ultimately not enacted, because it would have reduced benefits for many public workers; it would have made it tougher to hire and retain future teachers and state and local government employees; and it would have cost taxpayers much more than maintaining the path we set six years ago. Like a lot of bad laws that are no longer enforced, this one should be removed completely.”
The two lawmakers introduced the bill on Friday, since the deadline for new bills to be introduced is Tuesday and lawmakers will not meet on Monday, in observance of Presidents Day.
The 2019 General Assembly will meet through March 13, then will be in the so-called “Veto Recess” until the final two days of the session, March 29 and 30. While the final two days are ostensibly to be only used to vote on whether to override vetoes by Gov. Matt Bevin, any legislative activity can still take place.
House Bill 401