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.
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.