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School districts across Kentucky cancel classes after Senate passes hastily filed pension reform bill

Carroll and Gallatin Co.among the districts closed

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) - A last-minute pension reform bill passed through the Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday night, sending it to Gov. Matt Bevin's desk.

After a contentious debate on the floor, the Senate voted to pass the bill by a 22-15 vote. It passed the House by a 49-46 vote earlier Thursday night.

Early Friday morning, school districts across the state had to cancel class due to a high number of teacher absences. Those districts include JCPS, Oldham County, Carroll County, Gallatin County, Boyle County and Marion County.

The bill, which was introduced within a proposed wastewater sewage bill Thursday afternoon, differs from past versions in that there are no changes to current cost of living adjustments for teachers. The bill does plan for unused sick time to be frozen beginning July 1. New hires would go into a “hybrid cash balance” system.

During committee discussion Thursday, Rep. Jim Wayne (D-District 35) claimed the bill was illegal during the meeting. In spite of similar protests, the bill passed with an 11-7 tally.

The 291-page bill had no actuarial analysis before the vote, and since it was filed so quickly, most lawmakers didn't even have a chance to read it. As of 10:30 p.m., it had not been posted online for the public to read either.

"This bill is going to be found unconstitutional," Rep. Derrick Graham (D-District 57) said. "Remember this day. Let your voices be heard in November, for those that were with you in the grind and those who were against you."

After the Senate passed the bill Gov. Bevin tweeted that Senators who voted "yes" did so to not "keeping kicking the pension problem down the road":

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