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Monday, December 17, 2018

Gov. Bevin Calls Special Legislative Session to Address Kentucky's Pension Crisis

Gov. Matt Bevin announced at a press conference today in Frankfort that he is calling a special legislative session this week to address Kentucky's looming public pension crisis.

The press conference, which began before 4:00 p.m. called for legislators to begin their session tonight at 8:00 p.m. and comes four days after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Senate Bill 151, was in violation of the Kentucky Constitution's requirement of three public readings in the Legislative Chambers.

SB 151, known as "the sewer bill" was the pension overhaul bill that passed just as time ran out of the 2018 legislative session.

"Today, I am convening the General Assembly into special session to enact vital legislation that will be a meaningful first step toward shoring up our dying pension system. We stand at the threshold of financial failure. That is not acceptable," said Gov. Bevin.

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He continued: "Kentucky's pension crisis represents the single greatest threat to the long-term financial health of the Commonwealth. Last week's decision by the Supreme Court to strike down SB 151, based solely on process, and with utter disregard for legal precedent and the separation of powers, has only served to create further uncertainty, fear and the likelihood of financial insolvency. Only the General Assembly has the authority and responsibility to pass laws to fix this pension debacle."

Bevin said that credit agencies had already contacted the Commonwealth about the Supreme Court's ruling and noted that inaction could result in further credit downgrades that would cost tens of millions of dollars for taxpayers.

"By not taking action immediately, it will further limit the Commonwealth's ability to pay for essential services, including education and healthcare. I am confident that the General Assembly can, and will, do exactly that," said Bevin.

The announcement of the special session comes as a surprise to legislators. A release to press about the conference was sent at 2:45 p.m., just an hour before the announcement.

Because the session is being called this evening, the session will feature the same legislators that passed the pension bill previously.

For all intents and purposes they could pass the same bill and require no additional votes to pass it under the protocol outlined in the Kentucky Constitution.

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