Update: Gov. Bevin pension veto disappoints Senate president

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - 4:50 p.m.

The Kentucky Senate's top leader says he's disappointed by Gov. Matt Bevin's veto of a pension bill.

Senate President Robert Stivers said Wednesday that the measure would have provided "much-needed stability" to the agencies affected by the measure.

The bill was aimed at providing pension relief for the state's 118 quasi-governmental agencies - including rape crisis centers, public health departments and some universities.

Bevin says he will call lawmakers back for a special session to fix the bill.

Stivers says before that happens, the governor needs to "set the parameters for what he is willing to sign" into law.

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4:30 p.m.

The director of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence told sister station WKYT the cost to leave the state pension system was not an option for them, but they cannot afford the current plan.

"While House Bill 358 wasn't feasible, now we are back in limbo not knowing what is going to happen. And if something doesn't happen before July 1, our rate automatically goes to 84%," said Sharon Currens.

Governor Matt Bevin vetoed the bill, saying there were some changes needed. One area he thought needed adjusting was a provision that allowed the state to take over agencies that defaulted on payments.

"Let's just tighten it up. There is a couple things in there to make better. We could do it in a single one-day session. It will get worked out in advance, the House and the Senate, they don't need to charge new territory here," said Bevin.

"House Bill 358 ended up being pretty punitive. If we had defaulted, which I'm not sure we can promise we won't, any retiree that we had would automatically have their pensions suspended. And that's a big burden for us to carry," said Currens. "It is upsetting that there are posts coming up that we are trying to get out of paying out debts as a quasi - and that's really not true. We had no idea it would increase this much or we wouldn't have joined the system in the first place."

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Noon

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says a pension bill that he vetoed needs some fine-tuning to fix provisions that had legal problems.

A day after his veto, the Republican governor told reporters on Wednesday that he hopes to call a special legislative session soon to fix the problems.

Bevin said the bill had provisions that violated the "inviolable contract" - the language within state law that guarantees recipients get the benefits promised when they were hired.

The governor says he thinks lawmakers could make the changes in a one-day special session.

That would require lawmakers to waive parliamentary procedures. Legislative leaders have not weighed in on how long a special session could last.

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7:25 a.m.

For the second time in months, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin intends to reconvene lawmakers for a special session to confront pension woes. The action comes after he vetoed a bill aimed at giving relief to some state-funded agencies struggling with retirement payments.

Bevin said Tuesday he'll call lawmakers back in session prior to July 1.

Reaction to the governor's action was mixed. The advocacy group Kentucky Government Retirees commended Bevin for nixing a bill it said exposed the Kentucky Retirement Systems to "unjustified risk."

Kentucky House and Senate Democratic leaders said: "This is not how you govern."

Bevin vetoed House Bill 358, which cleared the GOP-dominated legislature in late March. It would have let the state's 118 quasi-governmental agencies - including rape crisis centers, public health departments and some universities - leave the state's troubled pension system.



 
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