Hundreds of Kentucky teachers jam Capitol Rotunda to protest controversial pension bill
A dozen school districts in the state closed Friday over teacher absence.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hundreds of teachers jammed Kentucky's Capitol Rotunda Friday to protest the surprise pension bill passed late Thursday night.
A dozen school districts in the state closed Friday because so many teachers called out sick. Many are presumed to have called out because they are angry at the pension bill and the way it was pushed through.
Teacher DeeAnna Albright admits she called in sick to go to Frankfort, and she says more work stoppages are possible.
"I guess we'll take it a day at a time, but I think we're preparing to go farther, if we need to. I'm ready to do a work stoppage, if we need to. If there is support in the Commonwealth, I will be part of that," Albright said.
Republican Rep. Jason Nemes represents Louisville. He voted for the pension bill, but he admits he didn't like the process.
"It's unfortunate. I think there's a whole lot of misinformation out there, and a lot of that is the legislators' fault because we didn't get the information out as to what was in the bill, as much as we should've."
The pension bill caught many people off-guard because the pension changes were tacked on to a wastewater bill. The bill passed both the Senate and the House in a single day.
The bill is similar to Senate Bill 1 in that new teachers will not get guaranteed pensions. Instead they'll receive a "hybrid cash plan" which pays out a fixed amount in retirement.
The bill does not freeze cost of living increases for retired teachers. However, it will cap the number of sick days that can be used toward retirement.
Much of the controversy comes from how quickly the bill was pushed through, which left lawmakers little time to actually read it before voting.
Rep. Jim Wayne (D) 35th district said, "It's 291 pages, They gave it literally hot off the presses, it was still warm when they laid it in front of us on committee table. There was absolutely no chance to read it."
But Rep. Jerry Miller (R) 36th district said it was each lawmaker's responsibility to get through the paperwork. "This bill is 99 percent the same as a bill that was fired in February 22nd, so if legislators hadn't read that bill -- shame on them. That's all I can say."
Attorney General Andy Beshear said Friday he intends to sue to seek to overturn the bill, claiming it's passage violated the law and the inviolable contract put in place many years ago.
- Teacher absences force Kentucky school districts to call off classes
- Ky. Attorney General announces intentions to file lawsuit over hastily passed pension reform bill
- Kentucky Senate passes hastily filed pension reform bill; school districts across the state cancel class hours later
- Teachers having a huge impact on debate over pension reform in Frankfort
- Time and momentum appear to be running out on Kentucky's pension bill
- Ky. Gov. Matt Bevin posts video about teachers' pension system
- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says teachers protesting pension bill are misinformed
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