General Assembly lunchtime update: House panels to take action on pension bills

02/26/2013 11:06 AM

UPDATED — The House budget committee in its morning meeting didn’t take up a bill aimed at funding the state’s increase in funding for public employee pensions but is likely to vote on it during a later meeting this afternoon, the chairman said.

Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford and the House budget committee’s chairman, told Pure Politics that he believes the proposal House Speaker Greg Stumbo outlined Monday had the votes at least among Democrats to pass the panel.

He said the measure was still being drafted Tuesday morning, which is why it didn’t come up in the committee’s 10 a.m. meeting.

The proposal will create a designated fund to pay for the state making the additional payments to make its full contribution into the Kentucky Retirement System for the first time since 2002. The state needs at least $100 million in additional funding.

The bill calls for capturing increased revenue from the Kentucky Lottery Corporation launching a Keno game and eLottery, which allows individuals to play — and pay for — lottery games from their computers. The measure also will capture state receipts from instant racing if the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of that game. Stumbo said that should eventually bring the state coffers about $25 million a year.

Meanwhile, the House State Government Committee at noon was preparing to take up the framework of pension changes. They will replace Senate Bill 2 with a House substitute that will roll back the Senate’s provision for a “hybrid” or cash-balance account for future state workers.

UPDATED 12:31 That debate got off to a partisan start as Committee Chairman Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, moved to adopt the committee substitute only to have Republicans call for a roll call vote in hopes of blocking the new version.

On a party-line vote, Democrats prevailed 14-10 to kick off the discussion over their version.


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