A bill that supporters say would help reduce more than $40 billion in unfunded costs to the state’s pension systems received final passage Thursday by a 22-15 vote in the Kentucky Senate.
The legislation, found in Senate Bill 151, was amended to add pension provisions that would place future teachers in a hybrid “cash balance” plan. The bill was originally written relating to wastewater systems.
Another section of the bill would eventually prevent current teachers and state workers from applying sick days toward retirement eligibility.
Cost of living raises for current retired teachers would remain unchanged in the bill, as would the benefit calculation and years of service required for retirement of current teachers or state employees. And sick days could still be accrued for use by active teachers and employees.
The House approved the bill earlier in the day on a 49-46 vote.
Senator Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville and Senator Stan Humphries of Cadiz supported the measure, as did Representatives Myron Dossett of Pembroke, Walker Thomas of Hopkinsville and Jason Petrie of Elkton. Representative Lynn Bechler did not cast a vote.
Supporters say the bill puts the pension systems on a path to sustainability, while detractors claim there wasn’t proper actuarial analysis on the impacts of the bill and that it was hastily introduced and rushed through the General Assembly.
Governor Matt Bevin tweeted that, “Anyone who will receive a retirement check in the years ahead owes a deep debt of gratitude to these 71 men & women who did the right thing” by voting for the bill, which now heads to his desk.