Gov. Steve Beshear has concluded a meeting with a bipartisan group of legislative leaders without breaking an impasse on pension reform legislation.
The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate have been at loggerheads on how to shore up the financially troubled pension plans for state and local government retirees.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo called the Friday morning meeting a first step. He's said everyone involved wants to resolve the issue now to avoid the cost of a special legislative session later.
Among the major sticking points: A Senate proposal to create a 401(k)-like retirement plan for new employees and a House proposal to use money from the lottery and horse tracks to boost the state's yearly pension contribution.
Kentucky House and Senate leaders have changed the schedule of this year's legislative session to avoid a special session.
A potential—and costly—special session has loomed over the General Assembly in recent days, as lawmakers continued work on pension reform. Instead of convening Friday, lawmakers will work on Tuesday, with hopes that talks started Thursday night could lead to an agreement on pension reform by then.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says those talks have included the Governor and Senate leaders.
"The only conversation that we've had with them has obviously revolved around pensions, funding of pension liabilities and just a brief conversation about redistricting," he says.
Changes to a bill reforming how special taxing districts operate in Kentucky could kill the legislation in the final days of the General Assembly session.
State Sen. Damon Thayer, a Georgetown Republican and the majority floor leader, introduced the changes in committee on Wednesday which give local governments veto powers over possible rate increases by special districts. Those changes later passed off the Senate floor.
Special taxing districts are usually sewer districts, library boards or other quasi-governmental public service entities.
Auditor Adam Edelen—the main promoter of the reforms—said the changes were completely unacceptable.