LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Reaction is coming in on Thursday’s ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court to strike down the pension reform law.
The greatest financial threat to the commonwealth has now been made worse by Andy Beshear’s self-serving, political lawsuit, and it places the retirement security of tens of thousands of our teachers and public employees at greater risk of failure. This overreach by the Supreme Court will force our state to deal with further credit downgrades and increased borrowing costs for cities, counties and school districts. This is unacceptable. All options must remain on the table to solve this crisis because without real structural reform, the pension system is on the fast track to failure. Governor Matt Bevin
This decision provides hope that our government works for the people. We hope this decision will restore the honesty, integrity and values that Kentuckians expect and deserve from our elected officials. Educators want to be a partner in a responsible solution that addresses pension funding and the health of our retirement system.
“Public schools and public school educators are here to serve every single family in the Commonwealth no matter what zip code you live in. Our schools provide vital services for all students, and to do that right we need quality teachers and support staff.
The decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court today will go a long way in preserving our profession because we want to be able to attract the best and brightest to educate Kentucky’s children. This 7-0 decision is a complete rebuke of the deceitful and dishonest methods from those in the majority to undermine our legislative process.
KEA is proud to be the only education organization in the state that stood up for Kentucky’s educators and public employees in this legal challenge. We have and will continue to fight for the rule of law and for the best interests of educators and all Kentuckians.
“SB 151 would have denigrated the teaching profession in Kentucky. It would have deterred potential educators from teaching in our public schools by stripping back our pension protections and what is rightfully ours. That hurts every student, school and community in the Commonwealth.
In many Kentucky counties, public education is the number one employer. And when so many are giving their entire careers educating our children, we should be able to assure them that what they pay into the system is theirs when they retire.
Again, we applaud this decision by the court and its commitment to preserving the rule of law and the legislative process. Kentuckians deserve that from our government.
Stephanie Winkler, Kentucky Education Association President
While the legislature would never presume to judge the manner in which the Court conducts judicial business, we are nonetheless bound by its decision, no matter how ill-advised. This unfortunate decision now subjects decades of good legislation to potential legal challenges, while revealing a complete and total lack of understanding for the separation of powers. It disrespects the hard work done by the people’s elected representatives and ignores the constitutional foundations of the three branches of government.
Further, Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure recognizes the General Assembly’s action on SB 151 as a constitutional action in every state, having been developed by the nation’s 99 legislative bodies and their legal counsel.
Because of this disappointing ruling, state employee retirement will continue to be the most insolvent pension system in America, and will serve as a drag on Kentucky’s entire economy. Senate Bill 151 was the first step in moving our pension systems toward a new day of solvency and health. Today’s decision puts retirement checks for hardworking public employees at risk, and is a major setback to the difficult work undertaken to reverse the indecision and inaction of the past two decades. Despite this, we are committed to leading in the effort to enact a solution for the critical situation that once again faces our Commonwealth.
House Majority Leadership
But make no mistake, Matt Bevin and the Republicans will continue the attacks on hardworking Kentuckians and try to pass even more benefit cuts in this coming legislative session. The Kentucky Democratic Party intends to hold him accountable in 2019 and make him a one-term governor.Ben Self, Kentucky Democratic Party Chair