FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The 2018 General Assembly is nearly at the halfway point and a public pension reform bill is still at the starting gate.
State lawmakers were petitioned by email over the weekend to protect taxpayers by moving all future employees from a defined benefits system to a contribution system similar to a 401(k). The appeal claimed doing so would be the only way taxpayers could be protected.
Among those signing the email was J. McCauley "Mac" Brown, chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky and vice president and director of business services of the Brown-Forman company.
House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, said on Monday that Brown does not represent House Majority Republicans.
“He is the chairman of the Republican Party,” Osborne said. “He does not speak for our caucus. I have tremendous respect for Mac and many of those people who signed that letter.”
Some House GOP members disavowed the letter on social media.
Osborne said he hadn’t seen the comments made by legislators and declined to speculate if more members will attempt to distance themselves from Brown’s email.
“Passing a pension bill is difficult in itself,” he said, suggesting the appeal from Republican Party chairman neither helped nor hurt the job ahead.
Osborne said legislators are still waiting one last piece of information before they will begin the process of drafting and introducing a bill.
He said the House has been working closely with Senate Republicans throughout the process “so any decision points are being made we are doing as a joint leadership team.”