Kentucky lawmakers have just about two weeks to finalize bills before passing them along to Governor Bevin for his approval or veto. Pension reform and state budget bills, two top priority measures, remain in the ‘yet to be voted on’ category.
Senators Friday considered bringing a pension bill to the floor, but opted to send it back to committee for further review. Senator President Robert Stivers was asked about closed door discussion on pensions. The senate leader cited the ‘speech and debate clause.’
“That allows you to have conversations so you can have free debate, either privately or here on the floor and it’s a protective product under the law. So, our members want to ask questions to make sure they fully understand it and we’re going to afford them that opportunity,” said Stivers.
A couple hundred educators raised their voices against the pension bill on Friday. Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler said teachers are the heart and soul of the state’s communities. She says teachers represent public school students who deserve better. Winkler believes additional tax money is needed to address a number of pressing issues. “We need revenue to fix all the funding needs in our Commonwealth. And that goes way beyond public education. All public services are in dire need of funding. We have a funding crisis in this state,” noted Winkler.
While legislative leaders have talked about substantial tax reform, there’s been no outward movement toward such a measure this session. There’s just under two weeks remaining before legislators are scheduled to have two concurrence days to take up amended bills.