Senate leaders still not sure when a pension bill will be in place for consideration

01/12/2018 01:52 PM

FRANKFORT – With Gov. Matt Bevin’s State of the Commonwealth and Budget address scheduled for Tuesday night, there is speculation as to when the first pension bill will surface.

While the Senate waits, the House has been bogged down with all of the drama related to former Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover’s sexual harassment allegations, which has brought progress on a pension bill to a standstill.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, is hopeful that a bill might surface next week, but said it could be longer.

“We’re going to continue to work next week,” Stivers said. “Hopefully, we’ll have something, but I can’t guarantee that.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, shares Stiver’s uncertainty as to when the body will see a compromise bill, but says, after some delays, both Senate and House leadership are back together working on a plan.

“I’m still a little uncertain on the timing,” Thayer said. “We’re still looking at a couple of different pension bills and getting the scores back in bits and pieces. Now, we have started meeting again with House Republican leadership again, and that’s a really good step to restart these pension talks.”

Thayer believes that there some items which were part of Gov. Matt Bevin’s original proposal which absolutely must be part of any effective compromise pension bill.

“Level dollar funding, moving all future employees to a defined contribution like plan,
and then dealing with some of the items that are outside the inviolable contract,” Thayer said.

Gov. Bevin’s address is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 7:00, and Thayer predicts that the message will include some harsh realities.

“We’re probably going to hear a tough love speech from Gov. Bevin,” Thayer said. “I mean he’s really been prepping the commonwealth for this for a very long time. “A lot of bad decisions that started frankly, twenty to twenty five years ago have caught up to us and we’ve got some things we need to change, and I’m looking forward to seeing his perspective on how we deal with some areas that need some funding and other areas where we’re likely going to have to make some cuts in order to shift dollars over to make the required pension contributions.”

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