Senate fails to vote on pension reform bill; sends it back to committee

03/09/2018 03:16 PM

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky state Senate decided on Friday afternoon to pass over Senate Bill 1, the pension reform bill, and refer it back to the State and Local Government Committee.

The decision capped a wild day in the state Capitol as approximately 200 teachers, who arrived one hour before the session began, staged a rally — their chants could be heard throughout the day in the Senate chamber.

The Senate recessed at 9:30 a.m. for a caucus meeting, came back briefly to announce a lunch break, and then reconvened at 1:30 p.m. to announce the decision to refer the bill back to committee.

Minutes after that decision, loud cheers from teachers, retirees and some state workers could be heard through the doors of the Senate chamber as those assembled were notified of the decision to not vote on the legislation.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the apprehension of a number of GOP lawmakers led to the decision to table the bill for now.

“Throughout the period of time we continued to work to try to modify and come up with a bill which would be supported in the caucus, sometimes people felt comfortable with it, sometimes they did not,” Stivers said.

Stivers didn’t feel that the teacher protest had any effect on the legislators who wanted more time to go over the legislation.

“I do not think that they would have influenced anything that would have happened here today,” Stivers said.

Stivers acknowledged that the bill in its current form, was going to have a difficult time passing in his chamber.

“It could, but it would be difficult based on events that have happened the last little bit,” Stivers said.

Stivers says that the bill is not dead but offered no timetable as to when it will reappear on the Senate floor for a vote.

Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler feels that it was a positive sign for teachers that no vote on SB 1 took place.

“We think it’s a victory today, we hope we can keep having conversations, that we get some kind of common sense legislation around pensions,” Winkler said.

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