Senate meets, doing homework on proposed bills


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - While the two public pension bills remain in the House, members of the Senate are not sitting still during the second day of the special session, said Senate President Robert Stivers.

“We are reading the bills, we’re having conversations. We’ve been in conversation with the House, with bill drafters, with our members, other entities that have contacted us saying, ‘We want to know what’s in the bill, how does it affect us,’’’ said the Manchester Republican.  “So, we’re doing a lot more than just being here.  We may not be on the floor, but there’s a lot going on.”  

Stivers describes the bills as they were introduced in the House, as structural changes to the public pension system.

“Individuals going into more of a hybrid cash balance plan, in which they would be guaranteed no loss in their investment on their annualized contribution,” he said.

“Is that going to be more expensive or less expensive, I don’t think it be either,” Stivers said.  “I think it will just basically hold steady the amount of unfunded liability.  It stops us from getting deeper in the hole.”

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, admits some frustration at being left out of the process, then hastily summoned to Frankfort for a special session.

“You call a special session on four hours notice,” McGarvey said.  “We have members who live three hours away, the week before Christmas, and you don’t have a bill ready to go.  That’s not a good way to run government, it’s not a good way to run a business, it’s not good for anybody.”

McGarvey also said the state’s bond rating would not be harmed, if the General Assembly waited until Jan. 8, when the regular legislative session begins.

“They’re trying to create an absolute apocalyptic situation that just isn’t there,” he said.  “Do we need to do something? Yes, we probably do.  We need to look at our credit agencies and make sure that our bond ratings stay at a certain level.  Do we have to rush through a bill that nobody has seen when the governor called a special session?  No, I don’t think the state’s credit rating will go down by Friday.”

McGarvey also said pension reforms enacted in 2013, have not been given enough time to work.   

“The 2013 changes are working.  The increased amounts we put toward the unfunded liability is 2014, 2016 and 2018 are working.  If they don’t manufacture a crisis now, they will never get the ideological changes to the system that they want.”



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