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State of the Commonwealth and Budget Addresses

Scheduled to air on KET

Governor Beshear will give the State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. eastern standard time. He will give the budget address on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. eastern standard time.  Both events will be televised on KET.

Week Two of the 2020 Legislative Session

Our Legislative Team has been verbally notified by Eddie Campbell, president of KEA and chair of the TRS Nominating Committee, that nominations to be a candidate in an election to fill a position on the TRS Board of Trustees is open to KAPE members to apply.  The deadline, according to the KEA website, is February 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm. For an application, go to kea.org, find the TRS Board of Trustee Nominations button on the left, and follow the instructions. The deadline is near, so if you are interested, please apply.

Both the House and Senate Education Committees met on Thursday, January 16th.

The Senate Committee did not consider any proposed bills but did hear updates on the 2019 School Safety and Resiliency Act.  Presenters discussed training for the School Safety Coordinators and organizing the School Security Marshall's office. Most of the discussion revolved around the set-up of the state offices and hiring of personnel to carry out the mandates of SB 1.  Testimony also included "inappropriate tasks" which school counselors were asked to do, rather than providing behavioral and mental health services to students. All schools have been assessed. It was recommended to the Committee that more SRO's must be hired to fulfill the requirements of SB 1. 

The House Education Committee heard testimony on HB 14, relating to tuition benefits for families of first responders who have died in the line of duty, and HB 190, relating to anti-bullying and making school districts more accountable with how they handle reports of bullying.  It was reported that districts vary in how they handle these reports, with many reports being ignored. Within this bill are requirements for investigation and response of incidents of bullying by school districts. Both bills passed the committee and will be sent to the full House. As always, you can read the full bills, as well as track their progress, by going to legislature.ky.gov and clicking on bill watch. Legislators continue to contact the KAPE Legislative Team and ask us to tell our members to contact them for your input on legislation. You can call at 800-372-7181 and ask for a legislator's office.  On this website are email addresses of all legislators. Please contact them with your input and opinions.

Week One of the 2020 Legislative Sesson

At the end of the first week there have been over 300 bills already filed on issues such as immigration, gun rights, vaping, pardons, voting rights, and education. As legislation is introduced, leadership of both the House and Senate is studying each bill and determining which ones will be forwarded to committees for consideration.  Final appointments to committees were made all week, and the rules which will govern this session have been formally adopted. Representative Joe Graviss has filed HB 235 which is to repeal SB 151, and to make some proposals for the pension systems. The section referencing teachers and educators is Section 40 of the proposed bill.

We urge all who are interested in specific bills or legislation to go to https://legislature.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspxand sign up for the bill watch service available on the official website. We continue to urge all citizens to contact their legislator at 800-372-7181.  Email and office contact information can be found on the biographical pages of each legislator.

While working in the Capitol today, Wednesday, January 8, 2020 we ran into some legal rock stars! KAPE’s legislative team had a great visit with Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Deputy AG Barry Dunn, previously counsel for KAPE’s Board of Directors. KAPE’s team is Executive Director Donna House, Director of Community Outreach Angie Berryman, and Director of Marketing and Promotions Jennie Watkins.                                            

End-of-year pension proposals made by state board

FRANKFORT—A proposal that the 2020 General Assembly consider adding the State Treasurer to its Public Pension Oversight Board was one of 10 recommendations approved today by the board.

Current board membership includes representatives of the Governor, State Auditor, and Attorney General but none from the State Treasurer’s office despite that agency’s involvement with the public pensions systems, said Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, one of the board’s co-chairs.

“The Treasurer is also involved in the retirement systems, so (it’s) a recommendation that the Treasurer also be added,” Higdon said.

Another recommendation approved by the board would add state legislators as non-voting members to the boards of the Kentucky Retirement Systems and the state Teachers’ Retirement System. Doing so, said Higdon, would help educate legislators about the state’s complex pension issues. 

“We need all 138 members to understand (pensions), but if we can have several that really get a deep dive into pensions, the better off the General Assembly will be when it comes to pension issues,” he said.

Moving the state pension systems away from what fellow board co-chair Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, called a “percent-pay model” to a “liability-based model” was another recommendation approved today. DuPlessis said the change would incentivize agencies to keep employees in the pension systems by assigning each entity their actual pension liability.

DuPlessis has pre-filed legislation for the 2020 Regular Session that he says could bring some of those changes about.

“What you’ll see, I hope, is (some) agencies which would be your rape crisis centers, your spousal abuse centers—they’re about a 31 percent of pay, is what they’re actually liability is. So when we have them at 49 percent, that’s higher than their actual liability is. And they’re about to move to 93 (percent),” he said. “So this is a fair way to assess liability to those who really own it.”

Other recommendations approved by the board today involve: improving the pension systems’ ability to absorb “large shocks” caused perhaps by investment or assumption changes; payment of KRS retiree costs affecting individuals with service in multiple state retirement systems; examination of the level of retiree health and pension fund requests for TRS; and funding of the actuarially-required contribution (ARC) of all state-funded pension systems by the General Assembly, among others. 

The PPOB tabled a few proposed recommendations, including a proposal by Rep. Joe Graviss, D-Versailles, to consider removing pension legislation enacted with the passage of 2018 Senate Bill 151 from Kentucky’s statutes. The legislation was declared unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court late last year. Those proposals will be heard at a future meeting, said DuPlessis.

All approved recommendations will be included in the board’s 2019 annual report. The report was approved today by the board, as required by statute, and will be published in coming days.

Some of the KAPE leadership team went to Frankfort on Friday, December 13, 2019 to meet with old and new friends

September 23, 2019 - Public Pension Oversight Board Meeting

KAPE's Legislative Team attended the Public Pension Oversight Board meeting on Monday, September 23, 2019. At this meeting the results of the audit of KRS and TRS performed by State Auditor Mike Harmon and his staff was presented to the PPOB.  Auditor Mike Harmon stated that SB 2, passed in 2017, was a bill meant to provide transparency on state agencies, and his audit revealed that 86% of contracts for investment services of pension funds and other services of KRS were not posted for public viewing.  Of the 281 contracts between KRS and others, only 12 were posted, and 269 were not posted.  He also stated that KRS has 110 investment managers handling investment funds TRS has 136 contacts are posted online for viewing by the public.  Both retirement systems countered that an Attorney General opinion released in 2016, before SB 2 was passed in 2017, gave them protection NOT to post contracts that would reveal information on carried interest, profit sharing, and how the investment managers are paid their fees.  TRS General Counsel Beau Barnes stated that TRS does not want competitors having access to the relationship between the System and the investment managers.

The auditor's report can be found at auditor.ky.gov

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