Public Pension Bill Emerges from Rowdy Committee Meeting

Mar 7, 2018

Pension reform, one of the top legislative priorities this session, is headed to the Senate floor.  Committee approval of pension reforms came over the vocal objections of a large group of retired educators.

A roomful of mostly retired teachers linked arms and chanted “find funding first, we vote” as members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee filed into the room.  

Committee Chair Joe Bowen (BOE-en) says the bill works to fully fund the pension systems. “Senate bill one makes that commitment, so you folks will enjoy that pension that you richly deserve,” said Bowen.

There were several reactionary comments made by attendees.  

Afterward, McCreary County retired teacher Roger Greer said he believes a provision to lower the cost of living adjustment is illegal. “There’s legalities involved and you’ve got people who make laws, legal laws and yet they are doing things that are not legal,” claimed Greer.  “So, how do you justify that.”

Bill sponsor Bowen says changes will result in $3.2 billion in savings over 20 years.  Under the proposal, a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment would be restored in 20 years.  Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler says there are indications that many House members may not support the bill because they believe it goes too far with reforms.