House Notes: Democrats file pension and redistricting bills

02/19/2013 08:29 PM

House Democrats filed two bills sure to stir debate over the last half of the 2013 General Assembly: Their own version of state pension reforms and a measure for a redrawnHouse map.

Tuesday marked the last day to file new legislation in the state House, and Democrats used their remaining hours to file two ‘vehicle’ bills. They get bill numbers and titles but won’t have any text — yet.

On the pension bill, the House Democratic majority is still discussing revenue options to cover the cost of Kentucky making its full required payment into the Kentucky Retirement System. That system, which covers state, county and city workers and the state police, is a combined $18 billion in the hole. Among the options to pay the nine-figure amount would be state proceeds from legalizing instant racing statewide and a tax hike on cigarettes. House State Government Committee Chairman Brent Yonts had said the bill could also tweak the cash balance plan and likely make adjustments to provisions dealing with cost of living adjustments.

House leaders filed a new bill to deal with pension reform even though the chamber is in possession of the Senate version of the reform bill. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said that’s because the bill would deal with “new revenue” to pay down the unfunded liability, and revenue bills must start in the House.

Passing a revenue measure bill in the odd-year sessions requires an approval three-fifths of the chamber. However, a simple majority is good enough to pass one in a special session. Stumbo agreed that’s where this issue is likely headed.

“I think if we’re going to address pension reform the special session was ensured a long time ago,” Stumbo said.

House leaders also filed a redistricting bill on Tuesday. The legislation will mark the second time in as many years that the House will attempt to draw new district maps to ensure every Kentuckian is equally represented.

House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins told Pure Politics on Friday that it’s been “challenging,” especially with the Eastern Kentucky region. The region has lost population compared to Central Kentucky. And it also has a heavy concentration of Democratic incumbents.

Senate leaders have said they don’t wish to breach the divisive issue in the short session.


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