After lawmakers pass surprise pension bill, hundreds of teachers swarm the capitol in anger
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Several school districts called off today because so many employees called in sick after last night’s pension vote, at the capitol.
Hundreds of those employees were right back in the rotunda Friday to protest the bill.
“This is what democracy looks like” and “We’ve had enough” were just a few of the signs and chants inside the capitol.
Teachers here say one of the things they’re angriest about isn’t even something inside the bill.
They did shut down some of the biggest school districts in Kentucky.
Then spent the day rallying outside an empty governor’s office.
On his desk sits the pension reform bill legislators passed in these halls late last night, just hours before unexpectedly tacking it on to what was supposed to be a wastewater treatment bill.
If the governor signs the law, current teachers would get less generous pensions and new teachers wouldn’t get a traditional pension.
The bill’s supporters say it’s a compromise needed to fix one of the worst funded pension systems in the entire country.
As teachers chanted, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer tweeted, thanking teachers who “showed up for work”.
The governor tweeted last night, thanking the legislators who voted in support saying anyone who will get a retirement check in the future owes them gratitude.
Attorney General Andy Beshear disagrees.
“I am outraged. Last night, we saw government at its worst,” said Attorney General Beshear.
He says he’ll sue.
The house and the senate violated that law and broke their word, but I am going to keep mine,” said Attorney General Beshear.
“when people take a job in public service they do it because they want to serve their community and because they were promised a secure retirement at the end of their career,” said Richard Becker, a union representative with Service Employees International Louisville.
Those out here supporting teachers say they expect people out here until the damage is undone.
“Even when they’re under attack, the loudest chant I heard was ‘for our kids’ and that tells you all you need to know about our teachers,” said Chris Kolb, a member of the Jefferson County Board of Education.