FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - Governor Matt Bevin's pension-relief proposal has narrowly passed the state House after a more than three-hour debate as a midsummer special legislative session continues.
The 52-46 vote Monday was a pivotal test for Bevin's plan to assist regional universities and quasi-governmental entities strapped by surging retirement costs. Those agencies include public health departments, community mental health centers and domestic violence shelters.
The bill's lead sponsor, Rep. James Tipton, predicted that the bill would pass by a slim margin in the Republican-led House.
The measure now goes to the GOP-dominated Senate. A Senate committee is expected to take up the bill Tuesday, and the full Senate could vote on it Wednesday.
Sister station WKYT talked to House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins about his concerns with House Bill 1. The bill needed 51 votes to pass the House and got 52 votes.
"I think that speaks volumes for this piece of legislation, the concerns, the problems with the bill," said Adkins.
Nine Republicans sided with Democrats against the bill, but the rest believe this is the best path forward.
"If it were to get struck down, which I don't believe it will, I believe it will stand on its merits but consequences of that is potentially a lot of people lose their jobs," said Speaker of the House Davis Osborne.
HB1 gives regional universities and quasi-governmental entities a one-year freeze at 49 percent. It also allows them to choose to stay in the system with adjustments or to leave the program and pay back their debt as a lump sum or in installments.
The nine Republicans who voted against Bevin's proposal include several Eastern Kentucky lawmakers: Robert Goforth, Regina Huff, Bobby McCool, Jim Stewart and Tommy Turner.