Matt Bevin

A leader of Kentucky’s state senate says a “watered down” version of Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension proposal is being drafted but it would still shift future workers onto 401(k)-type retirement plans.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he hopes the bill is revealed to the public before Christmas so it can be reviewed in advance of lawmakers’ return for the legislative session that begins on Jan. 2.

Kentucky GOP Rejects Governor’s Call For Resignations

Dec 4, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s Republican governor asked his party on Saturday to call for the resignation of four GOP lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement, but party leaders rejected it in a move the governor said “speaks to the fact that we’ve got real problems.”

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s Central Committee held its regular meeting on Saturday. Party Chairman Mac Brown introduced a resolution that condemned “proven sexual harassment in any form committed by any public servant in the state of Kentucky.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration is asking for a redo of an analysis that says his proposed changes to the teacher pension system would cost taxpayers an extra $4.4 billion over the next 20 years.

Bevin has proposed moving future teachers into 401(k)-style retirement plans and increasing the amount of money the state puts towards the system every year.

The analysis by Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting showed that under Bevin’s plan, the state wouldn’t see savings until 2034.

Budget Director John Chilton said the analysis used incorrect assumptions of retirement patterns and of how much money the pension system would make from its investments.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says his proposal to overhaul Kentucky’s troubled pension systems has enough support to pass out of the state legislature, despite skepticism from lawmakers and intense opposition from state workers.

In an interview on the Leland Conway Show on WHAS in Louisville, Bevin said that when the proposal was unveiled the leaders of the state House and Senate “said straight up that they had the votes to pass that bill.”

The insurance program that provides health insurance to almost a third of Kentuckians — Medicaid — will soon change. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is awaiting approval from the federal government on his proposed reforms. But even if Bevin gets everything he asked for, Medicaid providers and advocates say there are still a lot of unknowns to how Kentucky will manage the program.

In Kentucky, Medicaid used to just cover pregnant women, children or people who were disabled or living in poverty. Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, former Governor Steve Beshear expanded the insurance program to include people living outside of poverty – up to about $33,000 a year for a family of four. The program now covers about a third of Kentuckians, many of whom got on Medicaid through the expansion.

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Despite numerous failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is rolling out regulatory changes that are likely to clear the way for Kentucky’s plan to remake its Medicaid system.

At a National Association of Medicaid Directors conference in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday, Trump administration official Seema Verma said the government will give states more freedom over their Medicaid programs, including allowing states to require Medicaid enrollees to work or volunteer to keep their coverage.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives have hired a law firm to look into sexual harassment allegations against multiple GOP members.

The scandal has already led to the resignation of former House Speaker Jeff Hoover.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne said that “new information regarding this unfolding situation has emerged today.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Allegations that House Speaker Jeff Hoover and other Republican lawmakers sexually harassed a female staffer have rocked the state capitol in recent days, pitting political allies against each other and unearthing deep divisions within Kentucky’s GOP.

Hoover resigned from his position as speaker, admitting to exchanging “inappropriate text messages” with an employee.

But he denied committing sexual harassment and claimed he was the target of a political conspiracy to bring him down.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin is calling for the immediate resignation of all elected officials and staff who have been involved in settling or hiding sexual harassment allegations.

The announcement came in a quickly-organized news conference Saturday afternoon amid allegations that House Speaker Jeff Hoover and several Republican leaders in the chamber had secretly settled sexual harassment claims.

Bevin called for the immediate resignation of  “every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case” and state employees “party to trying to hide this type of behavior.”

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's administration is suing a Louisville law firm it says unlawfully received $4.2 million as part of a state settlement with Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma.

 

The firm Dolt Thompson Shepherd & Kinney had a contract to work on the case, but it expired in June 2015. Former Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway settled the case in December 2015. In February 2016, new Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear issued the firm a retroactive contract to pay for its work. Months later, Conway joined the firm as a partner.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin is taking his proposed pension changes on the road this week, pitching business groups across the state about his bill that would — among other things — move most future and some current state workers onto 401(k) style plans.

The plan has drawn fire from state employees who worry that future hires and current workers affected by the changes would receive less-generous benefits from the state.

J. Tyler Frankin

Gov. Matt Bevin Monday defended his proposal to change the state’s pension systems before a group of business leaders in Lexington.

Late last week, Bevin released a much-anticipated draft of a bill that would move most future and some current retirees onto less-generous 401(k)-style plans.

The proposal would also tweak benefits to current employees and retirees, drawing fire from state employee groups that say the changes would be illegal.

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Gov. Matt Bevin has released a much-anticipated draft of a bill that would make massive changes to the state’s pension systems, which are facing critical financial problems. The 505-page proposal was crafted with Republican leaders of the state legislature and aligns with a summary of recommended changes Bevin presented a little more than a week ago.

If implemented, over the coming decades the plan would mostly phase out the state’s use of a pension system that guarantees benefits to state retirees for life.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s state budget director said Gov. Matt Bevin will soon enact mid-year budget cuts to help avoid a projected revenue shortfall at the end of the fiscal year.

Earlier this month, a panel of economists tasked with predicting how much money the state will bring in projected the state would be about $155 million short of its initial estimates.

That move cleared the way for Bevin to make an official budget reduction plan — spending cuts to state agencies that don’t have to go through the conventional budgeting process.

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Representatives of state employees, teachers and police officers aren’t happy with Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to offer less-generous retirement plans and tinker with state worker benefits in an effort to save the state’s ailing pension systems.

David Smith, executive director of the Kentucky Association of State Employees, said the organization will hold a “torches and pitchforks” rally at the state capitol if Bevin calls a special legislative session for lawmakers to vote on the proposal.

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