Legislative leaders give differing views on pension issue solutions and special session, discuss election results

Following the primary election on Tuesday, attention is beginning to shift back to the call for a special session to tackle pension reforms for the state’s regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies ahead of a pension contribution rate increase set to happen in July.

In interviews with The Bottom Line on Thursday, House Majority Leader Bam Carney and Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer laid out their thoughts on where the votes stand on the pension issue and what comes next.

Carney stated the House is close to having the votes to pass a reform bill on pensions but added it is not absolutely certain they will want to pass Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal. He added the House has some concerns and would like to see some small changes to the bill and mainly focus on providing relief to the regional universities and a solution for Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees.

Meanwhile, Thayer said the Senate is ready to pass Bevin’s bill and is not discussing any other options on the issue. The Senate leader added that while many in the legislature were upset about the governor’s veto of the legislation passed during the 2019 session, he gave the Bevin administration credit for crafting a solution, releasing it to the public, and working to get the votes to pass their bill.

Watch the interview segment with Leader Carney (continue reading below):

On the primary election results, both legislative leaders expressed confidence in Gov. Bevin’s ability to win his re-election race in the fall against Democratic candidate Andy Beshear. Carney and Thayer both pointed to the governor winning the primary election with 53% of the vote but had differing opinions on what that means for the race.

Thayer stated Republicans got exactly what they wanted in an opponent with Andy Beshear, stating he feels Beshear was the weakest of the Democratic primary. He added he believes Kentucky Republicans will unite in November to re-elect Bevin and ensure other statewide candidates also see victories, especially in the attorney general’s race where Republican Daniel Cameron will face former House Speaker Greg Stumbo who served as attorney general from 2003-2007.

Carney said he feels both Bevin and Beshear underperformed in the primary election and said he believes the governor’s main task with his re-election race is convincing Kentuckians to turn out and vote in November, especially with the importance of down ballot races.

Watch the interview segment with Leader Thayer below:

Check back on The Bottom Line next week to hear the thoughts from both leaders on the 2019 session and what they’d like to tackle in 2020.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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