Lawmakers report progress on KY pension system deal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lawmakers report progress on KY pension system deal

Top Kentucky lawmakers took another crack Monday at reaching a deal that has eluded them in the past to shore up the state's financially troubled pension system for public employees.

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said House and Senate negotiators made progress during 2 1/2 hours of private talks at the state Capitol.

His counterpart, Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, said the negotiators had a "good morning discussion." Talks were to resume later Monday.

Gov. Steve Beshear has said he would consider convening a special legislative session if lawmakers can agree beforehand on a plan to strengthen the pension system.

A plan to overhaul the state's retirement system for public employees stalled during the regular General Assembly session that ended earlier this year.

The state's retirement system, which covers benefits for more than 445,000 people, faces an unfunded liability of more than $26 billion. Without action, lawmakers have said, the system faces eventual financial collapse.

Richards said negotiators were sorting through a possible plan to see how it would affect current employees and future hires. He didn't provide specifics.

"We're just trying our best to figure out how it affects everyone," Richards told reporters. "I think we've made some great progress this morning." Richards said he didn't know if an agreement would be reached Monday.

Beshear has called on lawmakers to pass legislation this summer to tweak the pension system. He says the plan could save potentially hundreds of millions of dollars and preserve the state's bond rating.

The governor also has set up a panel to study the complex pension issue.

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