Bevin, General Assembly Leaders send opening brief to KY Supreme Court

08/27/2018 07:42 PM

FRANKFORT- The Bevin Administration and the legislative leaders have filed their briefs for the upcoming pension hearing in the Kentucky Supreme Court.

General Counsel Steve Pitt began his brief—using a quote from J. Wellington Wimpy, a character from Popeye. The quote “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” was used as a way to highlight the pension debt the state is currently facing. Pitt argues argues that without Senate Bill 151—the state’s pension system will become insolvent and retirees will no longer receive pension payments.

The argument also states that Senate Bill 151 is constitutional and was passed in a legal manner, and does not violate the inviolable contract.

“SB 151 is constitutional, and this Court should declare it to be so. It does not violate the contractual rights of employees or retirees, and it is was not passed in a procedurally defective manner. The circuit court erred in finding otherwise, and it should be reversed,” the argument reads.

The argument goes on to say the biggest issue of the case—whether SB 151 violated the inviolable contract—was not addressed in the ruling from Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.

Pitt also argues that Attorney General Andy Beshear should have been disqualified from the case because it broke the Rules of Professional Conduct. It’s an argument that was used before the case went to court—but was ultimately thrown out by Judge Shepherd.

Beshear responded the filing of the brief Monday afternoon—accusing the Bevin administration of being disrespectful for starting with a quote from Popeye. Beshear went on to say he would be filing his response in two weeks.

“I promise you it will be a response you can be proud of. Not the snark you see in the Governor’s brief. It will be serious. It will be based on the law and on the facts.” he said in video posted to his Twitter.

Lawyers for Senate President Robert Stivers,R-Manchester, and Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, also filed their opening brief Monday. They argue Judge Shepherd’s ruling on the three reading rule is wrong—as was the statement that the the pension reform legislation started and ended with the March 29 passage.

“The legislative process used was not for purpose of avoiding debate and public input; rather the opposite is true—the process employed was precisely the result of legislators responding to that debate and public input,” the brief reads.

It goes on to argue that if a bill is amended-it does not require three more readings.

The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments September 20.

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

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