Judge maintains that Kentucky's pension plan is unconstitutional
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Kentucky judge is not backing down, sticking to his ruling Wednesday that the pension plan is unconstitutional.
The Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd already ruled the bill unconstitutional last month because of the way it was passed. But in that ruling, he did not give any opinion on the substance of the bill and whether it breaks the inviolable contract.
So on Wednesday, Gov. Matt Bevin's lawyers argued a motion to alter the original ruling.
"We felt like we needed to give his honor, Judge Shepherd, one last opportunity to rule on the underlying substantive issues in the inviolable contract," said Steve Pitt, Bevin's lawyer.
Now that Shepherd has ruled, he will not give an opinion on what the pension bill included. It is expected this will go to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
"Let's get a final ruling so that those 200,000 Kentucky families of police officers and firefighters and social workers and EMS in every state, city and county don't have to suffer from the anxiety," Attorney General Andy Beshear said.
In all the legal back and forth, both sides say they are not losing sight of what matters: protecting Kentuckians, funding pensions and paying down that $40 billion deficit.
"This is going to be the big issue for the next decade and the next couple of decades," Pitt said. "We have to get the word from our court what the parameters for those next steps are."
During Wednesday's hearing, Bevin's lawyer said he wondered if the timing of this is tied to the elections. Beshear announced Monday he is running for governor and said that jab is misleading and indecent.
"Well, they filed the motion that we're here on today," Beshear said. "We filed this lawsuit because the government and the governor illegally cut retirement benefits of 200,000 Kentuckians."
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