Ahead of lawmakers returning to Frankfort on Tuesday for the 2019 legislative session, new House Majority Floor Leader John “Bam” Carney sat down with The Bottom Line to discuss the breakdown of an agreement on pension reforms, what they will focus on in the upcoming session, and the impact of the 2019 governor’s race on legislation.
Discussing the special session called by Gov. Matt Bevin the week before Christmas to tackle pension reforms that ended without an agreement, Rep. Carney said he believes the breakdown happened as a result of consensus not being reached by the legislature and the governor before members were called back to Frankfort and stated while there was no bill passed, he feels progress came from those discussions during that special session.
Because they did not reach a conclusion on pension reforms, the newly-elected House Majority Floor Leader said he does expect conversations about changes to the retirement system to continue in 2019 but stressed this is a short session year with only 30 days to pass legislation and added he does not want to see the pension discussion take up all the air in the room during that time frame. (Learn more about the special session and the pension issue in a short explanatory video here.)
In terms of what the House Republican caucus sees as their biggest priorities for the 2019 session, Carney pointed to school safety, welfare reform, tackling the opioid issue facing the state, and clean up language for the tax reform package (discussion starting at 3:45 in the video below).
When asked if he expected lawmakers to pass any additional tax reforms in the coming year following their work on the issue in 2018, Carney said his caucus wants to make sure the changes made last year are fixed moving forward while some broader discussions on the issue will likely continue in the coming years.
As for big factors that could impact what gets done in the 2019 session, many new faces will arrive in Frankfort on January 8 after being elected in the fall and the governor’s race will also be taking place while the General Assembly is in session.
Rep. Carney said he knows many Republicans are waiting to see what Gov. Bevin will do in terms of filing his paperwork to run and who he might choose as a running mate if and when he does file. As for the impact it will have on the General Assembly, Carney said it will obviously influence some of the discussions but he intends to keep their caucus focused on the legislative priorities at hand.
Watch the full interview segment with Rep. Carney below to hear more on his thoughts about pension reforms, 2019 priorities, his new leadership role, the governor’s race, and more below: