Pension Fixes in Limbo as Leaders Argue Over Approaches
A House bill aiming to help generate revenues for the underfunded pension system is in legal limbo as the Senate refused to accept the bill. House Bill 416 takes revenues from expansion of Instant Racing and online lottery sales and the start of a Keno game to generate close to $100 million a year to pay into state's currently underfunded pensions for state employees.
Revenue bills in odd-year sessions must have 60 House votes in final passage to be considered within the rules; House Bill 416 only received 52 on the floor. Because of that, the Senate clerk refused to accept the bill.
But House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the Senate should amend the bill and send it back to the House for final passage if it wants to avoid a special session.
"We're not gonna take it back, they can do as they wish. If that's the case I'm glad to know we don't have to accept any Senate bills we deemed flawed in some manner," Stumbo said.
Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber has never been fond of trying to fund the pension changes before the 2014 budget process.
"We have never been of the opinion that we need to fund the bill now. Our position, our position throughout has been to work with the House, the executive branch in the context of the whole budget," Stivers said.
The Senate also rejected changes to Senate Bill 2, which would had made technical changes to the pension system. Senate opponents of the legislation said that the House amendments watered down the bill.