House Notes: Democrats file pension and redistricting bills

02/19/2013 09:29 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.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @Nick_Storm. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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Comments

  • sam pierce wrote on February 20, 2013 10:56 AM :

    It will be interesting to see what the House Democrats come up with concerning redistricting. Most Republican areas have been gaining population, while Democrat areas, especially in eastern Kentucky, have been losing people. If the redistricting were totally non-partisan, Republicans would be in a position to take the house in 2014. At least the judge’s ruling in 2013 makes the House Democrats comply with our state and federal constitutions. They would be wise just to try to protect their own incumbents instead of also trying to mess with Republican districts.

  • KLW wrote on February 20, 2013 12:18 PM :

    Hey Nick, help us out by posting the bill numbers.

  • viewer wrote on February 20, 2013 12:35 PM :

    Looks like Speaker Stumbo and friends of coal BFF Eric Conn has got himself into some trouble with SSI fraud. People that can leave are leaving Eastern Ky. But the rest of us in Ky are getting punished when Gop and Dems keep putting EKY law makers into leadership. Maybe if enough leave we can get ride of either Stumbo, Rocky Adkins , or Keith Hall by lack of voters. Could you imagine the pot calling the kettle black if one of these were matched up against one another in a race. I would pitch in on campaign for both sides just to see the ads.

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