Republican leaders say after meetings with Gov. Bevin, pension p - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Republican leaders say after meetings with Gov. Bevin, pension plan could come soon

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Republican leaders of the House and Senate said Wednesday they've had marathon meetings with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and hope to unveil a plan to begin digging out of the more $30 billion pension hole.

They said they've met 12 to 15 times with Bevin over the past few weeks to try to hammer out a deal.

"There's a hole, and the key for us is to not go any deeper," House Speaker Jeff Hoover said. "We're a whole lot closer to a comprehensive rollout than we were even two weeks ago. But we still have some unresolved issues."

Hoover and Senate President Stivers would not offer any details Wednesday. Bevin has given some clues as to parts of a possible plan. He's indicated support for placing new state employees on a 401-K style benefit.

But the big question is whether any plan would cost current employees and retirees any of their benefits.

"There will be a big sigh of relief from folks all over Kentucky," Hoover said.

House Democratic leader Rep. Rocky Adkins added that making sure current benefits are not cut is his priority.

"It's more than a moral obligation," Adkins said. "It's a legal obligation to make sure that the benefits that have been promised to those existing employees and those who are retired ... that that obligation is upheld."

Although a framework for a plan could be released within two weeks, there is still no word as to when Bevin might call lawmakers to Frankfort to vote on a plan.

"We have plenty of time between now and January of 2018 to do this," Stivers said.

But Democrats have one warning for Bevin.

"I would caution this governor not to call this special session until he has the votes," Adkins said. 

A special session will cost about $65,000 a day. And the regular session begins in January.

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