Attorney General Beshear vows to sue over pension reform bill

03/30/2018 10:16 AM

FRANKFORT- Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, says he will sue if Governor Bevin signs the newly passed pension reform bill.

Republican members of the General Assembly passed a surprise pension bill Thursday. Senate Bill 151 , originally a bill dealing with wastewater, served as the vehicle for a revised version of Senate Bill 1. Beshear took to Twitter to announce his intentions to sue over the rushed bill.

Beshear took issue with the manner in which the majority party rushed the bill through committee.

“They didn’t allow any public comment or testimony, they refused to hear from you. They plopped a 291 page bill in front of legislators and made them vote on it without reading it. And they didn’t even have the required actuarial analysis, which would tell you and me if it would even save a dime.” he said.

Beshear went on to say that SB 151 violates the inviolable contract in just about every way the previous bills did.

“If and when the governor signs that bill into law, your Attorney General’s office will follow suit seeking to overturn as much if not all of this terrible bill as we can.” he said.

Attorney General Beshear is not the only statewide official who is speaking out against the pension reform bill. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, D-Kentucky, has also been vocal about the measure. In a series of tweets, she expressed her disgust with the process, saying in one tweet, “Locking people out of committee, processing bills without the actuarial analysis and tacking legislation onto a sewage bill STINKS! This is not what democracy looks like.”

Governor Bevin is expected to sign the bill after tweeting out support for the 71 members who voted for pension reform.

In response to Beshear’s claim that the pension reform bill passed violates the inviolable contract with regard to capping of teacher sick leave, John Cox, Spokesman for Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, released the following statement:

“Beau Barnes, Executive Director of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System (KTRS), was introduced at a July 2015 meeting of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement Funding Work Group, where he presented a contractual benefit review of KTRS. Remember that this work group was created by former Governor Steve Beshear. In the meeting minutes from the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement Funding Work Group, Mr. Barnes discusses the KTRS benefit provisions not covered by the inviolable contract. One of the provisions not included by the inviolable contract, according to Mr. Barnes, is sick day payments being included in the pension calculations.”

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

6 Comments

Comments

  • Heza Putz wrote on March 30, 2018 10:32 AM :

    If Lil Andy was an Indian, he’d be a Sioux. I wonder if Andy agrees with suing the great investment advisor/agents the KRS utilized for years to such great success?

  • Ricky Lee Williams JR. wrote on March 30, 2018 02:36 PM :

    Hello friends. I’m going to touch a little on yesterday’s events in Frankfort, but hold off getting into the weeds, until after all the negotiations are over and we get this budget passed. There is talk of tax reform that is picking up momentum. We will have to wait and see what comes out of that.

    First, I have listened to every teacher on the phone, on Facebook, and on text message. Every single issue that I was given was addressed in SB151. We told them that we could not support SB1 as is. The GOP House and Senate, both, after hearing all the issues that the teachers and state employees had with SB1, Rep. Bam Carney and Sen. Max Wise began working the General Assembly to come up with a compromise, where something could get passed that would help save this pension system from total collapse. . I give Rep. John “Bam” Carney all the credit in the world for doing all that he did and taking all the unfair shots that he took last night and continues to take today.

    Any state employee or teacher who says that they didn’t get everything they asked to be included, who I have spoken with over the last 6 months, is not being forthright and honest. This is the best option that was available. A little bit of appreciation and humility would not hurt some of you all to practice.

    Friends, this has been very trying. There have been a lot of emotions. A lot of friendships have been tested. A lot of political allegiances have been severed or stretched to the point, where I do not know if some of our alliances will be what they once were.

    The problem here is too few know anything about how Wall Street or the pension systems run and operate. The KEA and state employees have very little leadership trying to inform their members of the realities we face. All these teachers say they have paid for this or paid for that. You want to know the truth? We have asked you to put in less than 50% of what we should have been charging you all along. You never paid for your COLAS. You only paid for 20% of your insurance coverage that you are getting. Instead of putting 5% on your retirement, you should have been putting up 15%. The state should have been putting in 20% for you, instead of 9%. These are the facts. You were lied to, and you are still being lied to. Watching Rocky Adkins and Jody Richards speak yesterday made me want to puke. They are the architects of this billion dollar debacle. You have to stop blaming the wrong people and praising the perpetrators.

    There were two speeches yesterday that said it all for me. One was a yes vote and the other was a no vote. Both were straight forward raw truths. Rep. Benvenuti voted yes in the House. That was probably going to be the best floor speech given, for me, on the House side. He said that it is hard to tell the truth if you want to get elected. That is the truth that all politicians know but rarely ever speak of. The other was Sen. Brandon Smith. Sen. Smith said that those who helped under-fund and perpetrate the fraud will be the ones that the teachers and state employees rally behind. That is what we are seeing last night and today play out in Frankfort. Rocky Adkins got his bull horn. Falling for these gimmicks is what led us to this point, friends. I ask anyone to give me a clip yesterday of somebody with some substance, who voted against this bill, besides Brandon Smith. We are short revenue. Without revenue it is going to get worse before it gets better. But, we are at least $40 billion in the hole. If anyone doesn’t understand how big a number that is and what that does to funding other needed programs that the state has to find money for, doesn’t have a clue of what their responsibility of a citizen entails.

    The truth hurts friends, and the facts are rarely told. Now, these teachers and state employees are running on emotions. They will be for a few days. I understand it, and we need to show empathy towards them. This was not an ideal way to pass this pension bill. Not the way it was done, but this was the best we could do with the time we had to do it. I just want to make it clear that every concern that people had with SB1 was addressed in SB151. Now, we can pass SB66, and hopefully this budget will have some tax revenue included. This includes the gas tax. This gas tax, which is usually not a republican talking point, is a must to keep up with infrastructure needs we have going forward.

    Rep. James Kay’s transparency floor amendment should have passed. Not only were these actuaries horribly off on their numbers, but there was over a half of a billion dollars swept from the system. Fraud has played a role here. There needs to be laws on the books to put some of these banksters in prison where they belong. This legislation needs to come from Congress, but I don’t see that happening until we get some kind of campaign finance reform. The people who are manipulating these financial instruments are giving tens of millions of dollars to keep the laws the same. RL

  • Ronald J. Ward wrote on March 30, 2018 02:46 PM :

    I wrote here prior to the House flip that Bevin and a GOP super-majority would follow Kansas, et al and put handing over the schools to their donor class a top priority.

    I’m not sure how much Beshear or Grimes can actually do considering Kentuckians have given too much control to the corporately owned plutocrats. It’s worth remembering come November.

  • Dee W. wrote on March 31, 2018 01:28 PM :

    “The KEA and state employees have very little leadership trying to inform their members of the realities we face. “

    And could have said something every year for the last 25 or so years to make this not necessary but said nothing. The chickens have come home to roost.

  • Ed Jessup wrote on April 01, 2018 09:45 PM :

    Bevin created a crisis so he could attack education. Twenty years ago, the retirement systems were fully funded, then the Republicans took over half the Legislature.

    Everything that’s happened in the last 20 years has Republican fingerprints all over it — Democrats too. At Mitch McConnell’s direction, legislative Republicans would not increase revenue to keep up with rising costs of schools, roads, prisons, and health care. Instead, the Legislature stole money that should’ve gone into the retirement systems, so we had a shortfall.

    In 2013, Republicans and Democrats worked together to solve the problem, fully funded the retirement systems in two budgets, and things were heading in the right direction. Then, Bevin declared war on teachers, cops, firefighters, social workers, and all public employees. Manufactured a crisis so he could smack some people around.

  • Bill Adkins wrote on April 02, 2018 08:16 AM :

    2 days before passage of #SewagePensionBill i tweeted, “Desperate Republicans do stupid things. Kim Jong Bevin and #KYGOP are desperate … a bad bill is worse for them than no bill.” They’ve done it. Vandalism is vandalism by any other name. Calling it ‘reform’ doesn’t make it reform.

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