Kentucky lawmakers gather in Hardin County for town hall meeting - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky lawmakers gather in Hardin County for town hall meeting to discuss pension crisis

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Kentucky Sen. Dennis Parrett Kentucky Sen. Dennis Parrett

HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Five Hardin County area lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, came together Monday at John Hardin High School to talk about the state's hottest topic: pension reform.

State Senator Dennis Parrett (D) of Elizabethtown organized the town hall meeting and said the goal was listen to concerns and reassure state workers.

"It's not fair to take those benefits away from our current retirees," Parrett said. "They earned them, and they were promised them."

Hundreds packed the town hall, and teachers showed up in full force.

"I just hope that you will have everyone doing equal responsibility, and the brunt of it will not fall on the hard working people of the school system," said Teresa Morgan, Superintendent of Hardin County Schools. 

The final version of the reform bill is not finished, but there does seem to be one thing on which Republicans and Democrats do agree: that benefits for current retirees not be cut.

"Whatever we end up doing, in the long run, it needs to be something that will attract the best and the brightest future employees, said Rep. Jim DuPlessis (R), of Elizabethtown.

Some teachers spoke up after talks that new legislation could affect their sick leave policies.

"If they don't have sick leave days, you lose your health insurance," said Regina Boone, a teacher.

The state budget director delivered a pension reform promise before the town hall ended.

"Retiree checks will not be reduced," John Chilton said. "What people are getting now will continue."

But he did offer one consolation.

"There's going to be some components of it that you won't like," Chilton said.

Chilton said highlights of the new pension plan could be announced as early as this week.

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