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.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at



  • Ricky Lee Williams JR. wrote on March 11, 2018 06:44 PM :

    Good evening friends. The following is the most up to date, current information that I have involving SB1 and this week beginning Monday the 12th. This is confirmed by multiple sources who have been involved from the beginning in the ongoing negotiations in Frankfort. So, as of 6:28 pm eastern standard time, this is where we find ourselves.

    There is no scheduled hearing for Monday, March 12th, to deal with SB1 in committee hearings. None. To those teachers and retirees, who are planning to come in the morning- Come if you want just hold your energy until 5:00 pm, when the rally is scheduled.

    To both my republican and democrat friends, this has been handled as badly as one could handle something as important as this pension bill. I want to apologize to the teachers, state employees, and the entrepreneurs around the state of Kentucky. Senate President Robert Stivers is a good guy, but he has blown this in terms of leadership, completely. Sen. Joe Bowen is a good guy, but he too has handled this completely ass-backwards and listened to lobbyists. In doing so, he has all but made himself look like the rest, which is incompetent and bought, on his way out, since he is not running for re-election. I admire Sen. Joe Bowen’s career in Frankfort, but he could not have shown less leadership and backbone than what he is currently, with this landmark piece of legislation. I hate this for him because his history of leading by example and with clear transparency is imploding in front of our eyes.

    Friends, I have been in politics, pretty much my entire life. When Gov. Paul Patton passed KERA Act, back in the 90’s,Gov. Patton went to many school districts to sell his plan. He even came to my small community of Owingsville. Governor Bevin, Sen. Stivers, Sen. Bowen, Sen. McDaniel- none of these folks has shown the citizens any respect at all by including them in such a monumental bill that changes over 10,000 current employees, and over 500,000 who are in this system all together. The lack of respect for all parties is astounding.

    Here is what the senate count concludes of being able to pass SB1, if it is passed, this 2018 session.

    The COLA stays at 1.5%. Anyone who is under 19 years and 364 days hired in goes under the rule of 95. Anyone above 20 years is already taken care of, and nothing will change, even if SB1 passes as currently written, which it has no chance of doing. This is the only way that this bill, SB1, passes both the Senate and the House. I agree with this. For anyone who is worried about their insurance, that goes under HB200. Friends in the state system, this is what we must demand from the total republican controlled government.

    To my democrat friends, I want you to know that the republicans did not get us to this point. 50 years of democrat control is what has lead us to here. I am not a fan of the KEA, nor do I have confidence in KEA president, Stephanie Winkler. President Winkler has hid behind the mass of power that was the democrat stranglehold over Frankfort her entire tenure. Now, Winkler is out in the front, and she still is having a hard time keeping up with what is going on. I have personally been involved in negotiations and Stephanie Winkler agreed to certain concessions, but then turned around and told her people it was not so. The other day, all of these teachers were in Frankfort and not a damn one signed up to speak in the committee. Ms. Winkler knew not to speak because she knew she would get caught up in lies as to what she had agreed to with senate republicans. So, I want to make it clear, that yes, we republicans look bad in how this is being handled. But, we are not alone. We are just out there fumbling the football in front of the world.

    Friends, we are in a mess here. The state is broke. Your local county governments are broke. Your county school boards are broke. All parties have to come to the table and not only do what the contract says to do, but what is in the best interest of children 20 to 30 years down the road, for their education to ensure they have a career that pays enough into the system to keep up this promise, when the current state employees are beginning to retire, in even higher numbers than already are. A collaborative effort by all stakeholders is a must to get the best deal possible for everyone. Bless you. RL

  • Ed Jessup wrote on March 11, 2018 10:05 PM :

    Ricky Lee, you got at least two facts wrong, so I don’t trust the rest of your essay:

    1) Wallace Wilkinson was governor in 1990 when KERA was adopted, and he and legislative leaders did a good job of reacting to a Supreme Court decision that struck down the whole school system. They put together fundamental changes in the century-old system of public education, persuaded the public the changes were needed, and raised the sales tax a penny to pay for it.

    2) The problem in KTRS and KERS is a bi-partisan problem — the systems were fully funded until Republican Ernie Fletcher was elected and the Senate was GOP-controlled (since 1999) and the House was controlled by Democrats.

    Starting with Fletcher, the Legislature and several Governors stole money from the retirement systems because they didn’t have the guts to come up with the money needed to run increasingly expensive programs like schools, prisons, mental hospitals, and health care.

    Instead of raising specifically-targeted taxes, holding the line on tax breaks for businesses, or allowing slot machines, Republicans and Democrats stole from the retirement systems.

    We’ve had 19 years of divided government, one year of total Republican control, and 20 years of thievery from teachers and public employees.

    Five years ago, legislators on both sides of the aisle were kissing each other on the lips and talking about how they saved the pensions, and they actually did some good by putting in the full amount owed each year since.

    Things were heading in the right direction until Bevin was elected and declared war on teachers and public employees.

    The only crisis is in the minds of Republicans who are afraid they’ll have to vote to legalize slots or sports betting, or legalize pot, or raise taxes in order to fund all the obligations of state government.

  • Bill Adkins wrote on March 12, 2018 08:21 AM :

    What Ed Jessup said is accurate. The conclusion that we got in this mess because of “50 years of democratic rule” is contrary to reality, the systems were fully funded until the Fletcher Fiasco. Then there’s the involvement of Pew Arnold Enron that makes the pension crisis one by design.

  • Ricky Lee Williams JR. wrote on March 12, 2018 10:11 AM :

    You are right about Gov. Wilkerson and KERA. I was thinking about Gov. Patton’s higher education reform. Still both Wilkerson and Patton sold their plans all around the state.

    We have put too many on government payroll without having the industry ( tax base ) to pay for it. Its that simple. Our costs are greater than our budgets coffers take in. And all the mismanaged dollars going for other places.. RL

  • Ricky Lee Williams JR. wrote on March 12, 2018 10:42 AM :

    Ed Jessup , hit me up on FB. I can’t type on this CN2 website. Whether it is Jim Waters or Jim Carroll, neither of these groups have talked any beneficial substance much. If you don’t toe the line with their view , you will be kicked out. Your post is just like all the others. Little guidance forward. Which is why so much false information is out here. The media has to do a better job in bringing in new people from out of the state to explain what is going on here. The same few have a stranglehold on our airways. Who have monetarily stake to be pushing their point of view. Chris Tobe and Jim Waters should be on same stage explaining their views points. But you will never see that unless its in a controlled setting like KET Tonight.. RL

  • Heza Putz wrote on March 12, 2018 11:25 AM :

    The whole damn country, with few exceptions, is now being run by acolytes of the J. Wellington Wimpy school of economics….We’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

  • Ricky Lee Williams JR. wrote on March 12, 2018 01:30 PM :

    Would you believe that less than 12 members of the General Assembly has been privy to this Pension Reform proposal being drafted? Ole Joe Bowen is getting praised all over the state for his work. The bill has zero chance of passing. But what the hey ! Transparency Joe went all in to get a 10 or so peers to get a glimpse and feedback on his Masterpiece. The other 110 or so is just there for Memorial Resolutions, introduction of their guest , and asking for a round of applause for their page of the day. Got time to check out the Peoples’ Champ , Rocky Adkins band in annex doing a little jingle. To keep sprites up of course of those getting board of starring at the wall. While a dozen or so others are crafting a Pension Bill. I am including the GOP members being excluded in this aswell. Unreal how bad Frankfort is being ran.

    KY is being ran as close to a socialized society as it gets in a free democracy. Mainly from the doings in Washington. This causes monopolies and crony capitalism. We see it everywhere our tax funds are being diverted to. Mayday Mayday Mayday. We have got problems. Wake up GOP voters. Time to primary some of our own. This session has been a gift to the Dems’. We have no one other to blame than ourselves and the Motley Crew bunch we voted in. The Senate could use more David Williams this year rather than Robert Stivers running the show..

    Luther Deaton is the democrats only chance of getting Governors seat back. Rick Rand doesn’t want to run. Rocky Adkins can’t win.. RL

What do you have to say?


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.