UPDATE: Kentucky pension overhaul wins House and Senate approval

Pensions graphic

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/AP) – Defying angry teachers, the Kentucky House and Senate Thursday night passed a resurrected pension bill and sent it to Governor Matt Bevin’s desk for his signature.  The measure is designed to overhaul one of the nation’s worst-funded pension systems.

The Senate vote was 22-15.  The House vote earlier in the evening was 49-46.

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The measure preserves most benefits for current workers. Most of the changes would impact new hires. But the bill still drew the ire of hundreds of teachers protesting in the Capitol, with many chanting they would vote lawmakers out of office in November.

Republican Sen. Joe Bowen said the bill puts the state on a pathway to paying down its debt while assuring the system’s strong financial future.

But Democratic Sen. Ray Jones said the bill would destroy everything teachers have fought for for decades.

The 291-page bill began the day in a House legislative committee where it was approved moments after it was released publicly.

The bill was written so quickly it had not been reviewed by actuaries, so lawmakers didn’t know how the bill would financially impact the retirement system. Bill sponsor Republican Rep. John “Bam” Carney said lawmakers expected it to save $300 million over 30 years.

Kentucky’s retirement systems are $41 billion short of the money that will be required to pay benefits over the next 30 years.



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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.