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Bevin Blasts Lawmakers For Not Addressing Pensions, Says They Don’t Read Bills


Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday criticized lawmakers for not passing a bill to address the state’s ailing pension systems and also accused them of not reading legislation before voting.

During an interview on Bowling Green talk radio station WKCT, Bevin said there have been “several” lawmakers that have asked him to veto legislation they had voted in favor of just days before.

“Invariably they often do vote for bills they didn’t read,” Bevin said. “Because it may not be possible to read every bill. But don’t try to dump a hundred and something out in one night when you know you and others haven’t read them all.”

Lawmakers recently passed a flurry of bills ahead of the designated 10-day period in which Bevin considers vetoing or signing legislation into law.

Legislators will return for one final day on March 28 to possibly override vetoes or pass new bills

Bevin criticized lawmakers for not taking up his signature issue — changing retirement benefits for state workers in order to reduce the state’s pension liability.

Last December, Bevin called a special legislative session for lawmakers to address pensions, but after a little less than a day lawmakers voted to adjourn without passing anything.

Bevin also said he would not call a special legislative session later this year for lawmakers to address pensions.

“And there’s no chance I’m going to pay them extra money, or the taxpayers are going to pay them extra money, to come in and do a job that they still have time to do,” Bevin said.

Leaders of the legislature created a special task force to study the pension issue earlier this year. The workgroup hasn’t produced any recommendations.

Only one bill addressing pension benefits was proposed during this year’s legislative session — a compromise proposal that would have moved future teachers into less-generous retirement plans.

During the interview, Bevin dismissed the protests over the pension proposals by teachers and other state workers, pointing to the results of last year’s elections.

“I think we saw last November that [Republican lawmakers] don’t have any reason to fear. Because all these threats of ‘remembering in November’ and all this other hoo-hah that was thrown out there, in reality, we have supermajorities in the House and the Senate after all the remembering took place,” Bevin said.

Bevin is running for re-election this year. He has three Republican primary challengers and there are four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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