Ashland teachers rally against proposed pension cuts

Ashland teachers rally against proposed pension cuts

That was the thrust of comments on the floor Monday by Minority Leader Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, who questioned some aspects of Senate Bill 1, especially the lack of defined benefits for teachers who are not eligible for Social Security.

Senate Bill 1 would cut benefits for some retired teachers while making structural changes some lawmakers say are necessary to save the retirement system from collapse.

Legislative leaders say the massive pension debt is cause for reform and historic funded for the beleaguered retirement systems, but a planned vote on Senate Bill 1 - sponsored by Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro - was delayed Friday and referred back to Bowen's committee following a similar protest in which teachers and other government employees swarmed the Capitol and voiced their opposition.

Kerr was referring to eight Republicans who declined to support the pension bill.

Addresses some of the more arbitrary and costlier aspects of the system for current employees, including capping the use of additional unused sick days to retire early and/or increase the amount of lifetime pension benefits; requiring new teachers to work longer before retiring with full benefits; and returning automatic cost-of-living increases (COLAs) for TRS retirees from 1.5 percent to the 1-percent COLA which was in place for decades beginning in 1967 before being arbitrarily increased in 1991. But Wednesday, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved Kerr's bill by a 9-1 vote. Changing benefits for new hires will make it more hard to recruit and retain state workers and teachers, those groups say. That, along with other changes, would save taxpayers $3.2 billion over the next 20 years while also pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to stabilize the system.

"Even though we have things paid for because we're retired, all the other bills keeping going up", she said. He said he didn't know when the bill might come up for discussion or amendment in the committee. On Friday, the Senate canceled plans to vote on the pension bill because they did not have the required votes. "I see them and go on", Stivers said.

But it is not common for lawmakers to complain about the practice publicly, as Kerr did on Tuesday.

Ashley Rodman's husband, officer Nick Rodman, was killed in Louisville a year ago. He told reporters after the meeting he was working on some changes to the line-of-duty benefits bill, adding it was "possible" it could pass this session.

It's unclear when or if the pension bill will come up for a vote.

Stivers said leaders did not retaliate against Kerr and that the bill wasn't called up for a vote due to "time constraints".