Day 30: Meetings, talks and negotiations

03/26/2013 12:08 PM

Legislative leaders of both parties from both chambers were wearing paths in the marble Capitol floor to the governor’s office for the second day in a row to try to cobble a deal to pay more into the public pension system.

House Democrats and Senate Republicans each offered changes to the draft proposal House Democrats offered Monday night.

At 12:25 p.m., House Democratic leaders and the three Republican minority caucus leaders emerged from a closed-door meeting with the governor.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said they were making progress “by leaps” as opposed to small steps from Monday. He wouldn’t say what kind of tweaks House leaders were pushing. But he said he was more confident the House would pass something Tuesday.

Ten minutes later, Senate leaders met with Beshear in his first-floor office.

Beshear, meanwhile, told reporters Tuesday morning at a bill signing that he was still hopeful legislators would pass something before midnight and would call a special session if a deal fails. Here’s what he said:

Groups of retirees have urged the General Assembly to come up with some kind of plan to finance extra money to go into the Kentucky Retirement System so that the state can make its full payment for the first time in more than a decade. That will stop the financial hemorrhaging that’s helped cause the more than $18 billion unfunded liability.

“As retirees and taxpayers, we strongly urge the General Assembly to pass a pension revenue bill today,” said Jim Carroll, co-founder of the Kentucky Government Retirees group. “Failure to do so will result in a worsening cash-flow crisis in the KERS non-hazardous fund, a crisis that was completely avoidable and within the authority of the legislature to resolve.”

Elsewhere in the capitol:

  • Talks have resumed between House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins and Republican Sen. Paul Hornback of Shelbyville over the hemp industry regulation bill.
  • And the House and Senate were preparing to override the governor’s veto on HB279.

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