FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The Bevin administration on Friday filed their reply brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court on the pension reform bill lawsuit that be heard by Justices next week.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit against Bevin after Senate Bill 151, originally a sewage measure but amended to essentially contain provisions of the original pension bill, was approved by a House committee and both houses of the General Assembly in the space of just a few hours.
The suit by Beshear, along with the Kentucky Educational Association and the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police, was filed against Bevin shortly after the governor signed the measure into law in early April.
In his June ruling declaring the bill unconstitutional, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd took issue with the process used to change it, saying the changed bill did not receive the required three readings on three separate days in each chamber and that it was an appropriations bill, meaning it required 51 votes to pass. The bill only cleared the chamber 49-46. It easily received the number of votes needed in the Senate.
Shepherd’s ruling did not address whether the bill broke the so-called “inviolate contract” made with public employees when they accepted employment.
In their reply brief, Bevin’s attorneys said there were eight points they plan to argue:
--SB 151 does not impair the inviolable contract.
--SB 151 does not violate Section 19 of the Kentucky Constitution.
--The Appellees' three-readings argument is unavailing.
--The Appellees did not plead that SB 151 violates Section 46 of the Constitution for failing to receive 51 votes in the Kentucky House and, thus, that claim was not properly before the circuit court and is not properly before this Court.
--SB 151 is not an appropriation of money or creation of a debt under Section 46 of the Constitution.
--If SB 151 required 51 votes in the House, any offending provisions should be severed from the remainder of the Act.
--To the extent the Court raises the issues, the Appellees' alternative bases for affirmance are meritless.
--The Attorney General should have been disqualified as counsel in this case.
When asked for comment on the latest filing, Beshear’s office said the governor brought up no new points and reiterated earlier comments “that the filing continues to insult our public servants.”
The high court will hear oral arguments on the case Thursday at 10 a.m.