SEEK­ING TO FIX PEN­SIONS

Lexington Herald-Leader - - Front Page - BY JACK BRAMMER jbram­[email protected]­ald-leader.com

The state’s leg­isla­tive lead­ers set up a spe­cial panel Fri­day to re­view and an­a­lyze the ail­ing pub­lic pen­sion sys­tems – again.

Ken­tucky leg­isla­tive lead­ers set up a spe­cial panel Fri­day to re­view and an­a­lyze the state’s ail­ing pub­lic pen­sion sys­tems — again.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Os­borne said at a news con­fer­ence that the Pub­lic Pen­sions Work­ing Group, which they cre­ated, will come up with rec­om­mended changes to the pen­sion sys­tems by Feb. 15 for this year’s Gen­eral Assem­bly to con­sider. It can re­quest an ex­ten­sion un­til March 1, if needed. If more time is needed, it can ask for an ex­ten­sion to Dec. 1.

The hope is to come up with pen­sion re­form this ses­sion but, if more time is needed, the group will have more time to work, the lead­ers said.

They said they have not con­sulted Gov. Matt Bevin, a fel­low Repub­li­can, about the work­ing group and would ad­vise him not to call a spe­cial leg­isla­tive ses­sion if the work­ing group and law­mak­ers don’t ar­rive at a pen­sion so­lu­tion in this year’s 30-work­day ses­sion.

Their move, which they de­scribed as like push­ing a re­set but­ton, comes af­ter the Ken­tucky Supreme Court struck down a pub­lic pen­sion mea­sure ap­proved by law­mak­ers last year and a sur­prise spe­cial leg­isla­tive ses­sion called by Bevin in De­cem­ber that flopped within 24 hours.

The panel has been as­signed to “con­duct a re­view of the pen­sion sys­tems’ struc­tures, costs, ben­e­fits and fund­ing.” Its first meet­ing is sched­uled for 9:45 a.m. Tues­day in room 154 of the Capi­tol An­nex.

Co-chairs of the panel are Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, and Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville.

Oth­ers mem­bers are Stivers, R-Manch­ester; Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Da­mon Thayer, R-Ge­orge­town; Sen. Jimmy Hig­don, R-Le­banon; Sen. Chris­tian McDaniel, R-Tay­lor Mill; Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Morgan McGar­vey, D-Louisville; Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Cau­cus Chair­man Johnny Ray Turner, D-Pre­stons­burg; House Mi­nor­ity Cau­cus Chair­man Der­rick Gra­ham, D-Frankfort; Rep. R. Travis Brenda, R-Crab Or­chard; Rep. Jim Du­P­lessis, R-El­iz­a­beth­town; Rep. Scott Lewis, R-Hart­ford; Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Fort Wright; and Rep. Buddy Wheatley, D-Cov­ing­ton.

The panel has no mem­bers from the five­mem­ber House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship team.

Os­borne said the House wanted to put some new House mem­bers on the panel “to par­tic­i­pate in the de­bate.”

The work­ing group is au­tho­rized to meet as often as nec­es­sary at the dis­cre­tion of its co-chairs dur­ing the cur­rent leg­isla­tive ses­sion, up to March 30, and can meet monthly dur­ing this year’s leg­isla­tive in­terim if nec­es­sary.

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