, Corbin, KY

State News

March 1, 2013

State pension problems remain


CNHI News Service

FRANKFORT — The widening gap between the two chambers of the General Assembly on how to solve Kentucky’s pension problems seemed to get wider Thursday.

On Thursday, the Democratic-controlled House passed an almost entirely re-written version of the pension fix passed earlier by the Senate and then passed a revenue bill to pay for the funding costs.

But the bill passed with fewer than 60 votes, which is the requirement in a 30-day, odd-year session.

Stumbo contends that requirement only applies to “final passage,” meaning the 60 votes could come in the House after the Senate sends back an amended version.

But Thursday, the Senate sent a letter to the House saying the Senate Clerk refused to accept the revenue bill because it violated Senate rules. Accompanying the Senate letter was a record of similar action by the House in the past.

Stumbo wasn’t moved.

“We’re not taking it back,” Stumbo said. “We’re going to forward to them some of the law we cited here yesterday which makes it clear those majorities are only required on final passage. They can do with it what they like.”

Later Thursday, the Senate refused to concur with the House in the amended version of the actual pension bill and sent that back to the House asking its members to “recede” and accept the Senate bill.

That’s not likely to happen.

Stumbo said the Senate’s action makes a special session more likely — or at least more likely that no solution will be found for the pension problem during the regular session.

In other action Thursday, the House State Government Committee approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Jill York, R-Grayson, to clarify the requirements of the open meetings law.

The bill would require public officials to at least evaluate the need for overflow crowds at meetings likely to deal with controversial subjects and to provide an alternative with adequate space to accommodate the larger crowd.

York said the bill is a reaction to a recent controversy in Carter County when the Fiscal Court would not move a meeting to accommodate a crowd too large for its usual meeting space. Carter County Judge/Executive Charles Wallace and County Jailer R.W. Boggs have feuded over whether to build a regional jail.

During one meeting, microphones were turned off and people in the rear of the room couldn’t hear.

Some committee members asked if smaller agencies might be unfairly punished by the law if they had difficulty in obtaining larger space for meetings normally attended only by a handful of people.

But York said the law simply “encourages” officials to abide by the spirit of the law and does not include sanctions.

Also on Thursday, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Republican Sen. Paul Hornback held a press conference to criticize Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, for failure to move Hornback’s bill to provide a regulatory framework for the cultivation of hemp.

On Wednesday, McKee proposed a substitute bill which would have called for more study of the issue, but when he couldn’t get enough votes for the substitute, McKee refused to allow a vote on Hornback’s bill.

Comer and Hornback accused McKee of political motivation – while McKee sat in the rear of the room listening.

Later he said he had no plans to call Hornback’s bill for a vote.

Hornback said he’d been told by an unnamed member of Democratic House Leadership he’d get a vote on the bill.

But later Thursday, Stumbo said he knew nothing of such an assurance.

Text Only
State News
  • Healthcare signup in state extended

    While the national health exchange established by the Affordable Care Act — known to some as Obamacare — suffered glitches, crashes and delays, the Kentucky-run exchange, Kynect, was often used as a national model.

    April 4, 2014

  • Kentucky budget passed with little debate

    The Kentucky General Assembly, divided between chambers along party lines, overwhelmingly passed a $20-billion, new two-year budget not only on time but with almost no debate.

    April 1, 2014

  • Lawmakers agree on snow bill

    Kentucky school officials, parents and students finally have what they’ve been asking for: A bill to allow them to get out of school before the summer fully sets in, even if they don’t make up some of the days they missed during the severe winter.

    March 31, 2014

  • Tensions rise during budget negotiations

    Tensions increased Friday between the Republican Senate and Democratic House over continuing negotiations on a new, two-year budget. It even got personal at times.

    March 31, 2014

  • Kentucky Power plan a potential landscape-changer

    Electrical ratepayers, local governments and those employed in the coal industry might have a hard time understanding the complicated transaction through which Kentucky Power Company is purchasing half the generating capacity of a coal-fired West Virginia plant.

    March 28, 2014 2 Stories

  • Senate passes budget with no locked-in gas tax hikes

    The state Senate on Tuesday passed its version of a two-year revenue measure, and unlike the House version, it does not lock in gas tax increases.

    March 26, 2014

  • House passes bill aimed at saving Big Sandy Plant

    Backers of a bill to require the Kentucky Public Service Commission to “reconsider” its previous order approving Kentucky Power’s purchase of a West Virginia generator say all they are asking “is for them to take a second look and look at all the facts.”

    March 26, 2014 1 Story

  • Judge: Companies can’t use eminent domain for pipeline project

    Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Tuesday ruled that companies building a natural gas liquids pipeline across parts of Kentucky cannot invoke eminent domain to force private property owners to provide easements.

    March 26, 2014

  • Still no snow day solution from lawmakers

    Senate and House negotiators, working on a bill to give school districts flexibility in making up snow days, each accused the other of moving the goal posts – but it’s the local school districts who may be penalized.

    March 25, 2014

  • Senate sets budget with ‘wiggle room’

    It was no surprise the Republican-controlled Kentucky state Senate altered the $20 billion, two-year state budget approved by the Democratic-controlled House, but there may have been a few who were surprised by how little it was changed.

    March 25, 2014