Prison and Medicaid reforms likely, pension debate possible, Stumbo says

12/14/2010 07:58 PM

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the Prestonsburg Democrat, said he expects lawmakers to make some changes to the cumbersome Medicaid program and “at least a first step in prison reforms” in the 2011 session.

“And you’re probably going to see some discussion about pensions,” Stumbo said.

Both Stumbo and Republican Senate President David Williams have expressed support for changing benefits for future state workers to a more 401(k)-type approach rather than a pension system that pays out a set amount in a monthly retirement check based on the highest salary while the retiree was in the state workforce. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has opposed that.

In all, Stumbo mentioned three big budget items — corrections, Medicaid and pensions — that lawmakers are trying to get a handle on as more of the state’s resources are diverted away each year from programs such as education and universities.

Here’s that segment of the interview with Stumbo, which aired on Tuesday’s Pure Politics.

A panel of prosecutors, judges, a county official and the top lawmakers on the Judiciary Committees in each chamber has been looking at revamping the corrections system with help from the Pew Center on the States and Public Safety. They are expected to make recommendations before the General Assembly’s work session gets into full swing in February.

At the same time, a legislative task force has been looking at ways to make the Medicaid program more efficient.

- Ryan Alessi

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