by Don Weber
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FRANKFORT – We’re nearly 30 days through the 2018 General Assembly session, and everyone is still waiting for a pension bill to surface.
Many Kentuckians and some legislators are surprised that, after not being able to address the issue in a special session in 2017, the wait continues for a bill to be finalized.
Senate President Robert Stivers that everyone needs to be patient as the process to finalize a plan takes place.
“The process now is getting very, very close,” Stivers said. “I think there’s two pieces of information we are waiting for. When we get those, We’ll see how they compare and contrast to each other, then I think we’ll be prepared to sit down and say we’re going to take item A versus item B, or item B over item A and come with a bill”
Stivers believes that it’s more important to have a meaningful pension reform bill rather than rushing one through which may not be carefully thought out.
“You know, if we do something we want to make sure it does have significance,” Stivers said. “If it doensn’t, then why are we dealing with it.”
While the original pension proposal from Governor Matt Bevin had heavy support in the Senate, Stivers believes that the final bill will a compromise between Bevin, the Senate, and the the House.
“You have different perspectives depending on where you come, there’s regional dynamics that play into this,” Stivers said.
Stivers is aware that many teachers as well as state workers are growing impatient for a bill to be finalized.
“I think people who are affected by it, who will have direct impact, that may be a beneficiary or recipient are very much concerned and I understand that,” Stivers said.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has indicated that he wishes the General Assembly would focus more on finalizing a pension plan rather than passing the bills that they have in 2018.
Stivers says that he understands the governors impatience, but everything takes time.
“The problem is that there is a process that takes place, and just because the process is slower than some people expect, doesn’t mean that we can’t multi-task and take care of other issues,” Stivers said.
While many may be surprised that it’s taking so long, count the Senate President as one who is not.
“I’m not surprised because I have been consistent in my statements, the process will dictate the time, and we don’t control the process,” Stivers said. “I am bot the individual who has control from A to Z of this process. We have to go outside to individuals.”