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Kentucky Lawmakers Say New Pension Bill Is Coming This Week

Alix Mattingly
WFPL, Kentucky Public Radio

Republican leaders of the state legislature say a new proposal to overhaul the state’s public retirement systems will be unveiled later this week.

Kentucky’s pension systems are among the worst-funded in the nation and Gov. Matt Bevin, along with many in the Republican-led legislature, wants to change how much state workers earn in benefits in order to reduce the state’s pension liability in the future.

It’s unclear what will be in the new proposal, but lawmakers have hinted that it won’t have some of the unpopular policies that were included in a previous version.

Senate President Robert Stivers said the new bill won’t move workers out of the current pension program that guarantees payments from when a state worker retires until death.

“If you’re in a defined benefit system, you’re going to continue to be in a defined benefit system,” Stivers said on Tuesday.

A previous version of the Republican proposal unveiled by Stivers, Bevin and former House Speaker Jeff Hoover last October would have capped benefits and moved state employees to 401k-style retirement plans after 27 years of service.

Nearly all future state workers would also be moved to 401k-style plans under the previous proposal.

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Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.