We are 37 days into KYGA18, and as predicted we have a pension bill.
The two-year state budget is still pending. Now that a pension fix can be calculated, the House can nail down exact figures in its proposed budget, possibly by end of the week.
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Article: “Linda Belcher defeats Rebecca Johnson to reclaim District 49 seat”
Week in Review February 19-23
SB1 – The Senate President and Speaker Pro-tem, Stivers and Osborne, explained Senate Bill 1 this past week. It’s been over four months since a proposed pension fix was released. Originally, it was jointly backed by Governor Bevin, President Stivers, and former Speaker Hoover. Thousands of hours spent on debate, analysis and citizen input led to another proposed pension fix. Wednesday night, the Governor emphasized the pressing need to solve the pension but did not address details of the new proposal in comments to central Kentucky business and elected leaders, with a number of legislators and our team in attendance.
In sum, current public employees stay in a defined benefit program, largely a thing of the past in the business world. New teachers would be in a plan that joins defined benefit features with a 401(k). The 3% payment by employees toward health care is gone. Retired teachers’ COLA is cut in half for 12 years. You can read extensive details at here.
SB2 – This legislation deals with tort reform. It calls for a Constitutional amendment which if passed would allow for limits to be set on awards in certain lawsuits. Senator Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) is the bill’s sponsor. Alvarado says “Currently, the General Assembly does not have the authority to set caps on the limits awarded in non-economic damage lawsuits which include things like pain and suffering and punitive damages. This bill would allow the General Assembly with that authority moving forward.” The bill is awaiting floor debate. The vote is tight.
HB1 – On the key issue of child welfare and foster care, this bill will establish an advisory council among a host of other things that will provide the legislature some input into child welfare in the state. As described by First Lady Glenna Bevin, “I couldn’t be happier. I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a very long time. There are a lot of people coming together for the children.” The bill passed committee unanimously, and will head to the House floor for debate.
HB2 – Representative Koenig’s Workers’ Compensation received thorough discussion on the House floor this week. This bill would only apply to future workers’ compensation and does not affect permanent total disability. Representative Al Gentry (D-Louisville) who lost his arm in a work accident, discussed his reservations about the bill, “or those who are cut, a portion of them will require additional treatment at a later date,” Gentry said. “And at that time, the burden of this medical liability will have been shifted directly back to them. And if they’re on Medicare or Medicaid at the time, it’s shifted directly back to the taxpayer.” The House approved this by a vote of 55-39.
Note: A version of this workers compensation bill passed through the House last year, but didn’t move in the Senate.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up
February 27 Special election for House District 89- Marie Radar who resigned for health reasons. Representative Rader served her district since 1997 and was Chair of the Transportation Committee.
February 27 Deadline to file House bills.
March 1 Deadline to file Senate bills.
March 7 Northern Kentucky Day in Frankfort. Our firm is a cosponsor for this event.