By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Senate leaders said Friday that a bill aimed at reforming Kentucky’s pension system will be filed on Feb. 5, the day the General Assembly returns from a two-week recess.
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told the Senate on Friday that the Pew Center on the States, which worked with the task force on possible reforms, will return in late January to brief legislators on the task force’s recommendations.
Thayer, co-chairman of a task force on pension reform, said the bill filed in early February will include the task force’s recommendations as a starting point for debate.
Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, was appointed Friday to chair the House State Government Committee, where the pension bill will be assigned. Yonts said a similar House bill dealing with pension issues will likely be filed sometime after the Senate bill is filed.
“It will start on the same format,” Yonts said. “I’m sure there will be changes over here and there will be changes other there.”
Fixing the state’s underfunded pension system is a top priority of many lawmakers in the 30-workday session that began Tuesday. The pension system has only 44 percent of the money it needs to fund benefits for all current and future retirees.
A legislative task force that studied the issue this summer made a host of recommendations, including doing away with an annual cost-of-living increase for retirees, increasing the state’s contribution to the pension system and other reforms.