Pensions, budget and House leadership highlight opening of 2018 Ky. General Assembly 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The 2018 session of Kentucky's General Assembly began on Tuesday in Frankfort.

The pension crisis, the lean state budget, and who will lead in the State House are on the agenda. 

House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned his post in November, after he admitted to settling a sexual harassment claim.  But technically, Hoover cannot resign until the House is in session. In fact his name is still on the Speakers podium, and there are some lawmakers who want him to remain.

But House Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher believes Hoover will officially resign and leadership will take care of itself. 

"Our Pro Tem, David Osborne, will be the guy with the speaker's hammer. And he'll be running the show until further notice," said Bratcher. 

Once the leadership issue is settled, lawmakers must tackle the issue of pension reform. The governor's pension plan is being revamped, but the new version has not been released. The pension issue will factor in budget talks. Lawmakers will need to find at least $1 billion dollars to fund the badly underfunded pension system.

Bratcher said, "It's not  just a matter of money in the pension system. It's a matter of the way its structured. I mean, when it was first started years ago, it was dozens of workers taking care of one employee. Today it's almost a one-to-one ratio, and that's just about unsustainable." 

Louisville Republican Representative Jason Names said, "I think it's only right and fair to have it open for everyone to see and comment on for a couple weeks. So I think probably, hopefully, we're ready the end of January.

And for the first time in history, a Republican legislature and Republican Governor will write that budget.

The session runs through mid-April. 

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