Thayer thinks pension bill could be passed by Senate soon

02/23/2018 12:44 PM

FRANKFORT – Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, believes that Senate Bill 1 could be passed out of the Senate chamber as early as next week.

Thayer believes that the changes made to Gov. Matt Bevin’s original proposal was a good compromise, and he sees no reason why it will not pass in the upper chamber.

“There are people who think it goes too far, and there are people who don’t think that it goes far enough,” Thayer said. “It reminds me of Senate Bill 2 in 2013, which I sponsored, and people thought the same thing then and I thought well, maybe if there are people on both sides who are not completely satisfied, that that’s a good sign.”

The cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) to teachers’ pensions appears to be one of the biggest controversies that teachers are unhappy about with the current bill.

Currently, teachers have a 1.5 percent a year increase. If the bill in its present state passes, that would be lowered to 0.75 percent.

Thayer said that the COLA adjustment is critical to the overall proposal in terms of realizing the cost savings needed.

“It saves a couple of billion dollars over the next several years,” Thayer said. “You know, the original bill in October took teacher COLAs to zero, they’re currently at one and a half percent. The compromise was to meet in the middle.”

While Thayer would like to get the pension bill passed before the budget, he admits that the current pension bill will not have that drastic of an effect on this years budget.

“Pairing it back from where it was in October, has reduced or almost eliminated the amount of savings that we’ll get in this budget,” Thayer said. “It’s projected to save us money in the out years, once the various changes that are being made start to go into effect.”

Thayer expects to see a number of priority bills to come to the floor for a vote in the upcoming couple of weeks, beginning with tort reform.

“House Bill 4, the peer review bill, that was a priority bill in the Senate last year that died in the House,” Thayer said. “They took it first this year and they passed it. We just posted that for the orders of the day in Tuesday.”


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