Posts Tagged ‘Greg Stumbo’

Pension Surprises

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

A few last-minute surprises popped up early Monday evening even before “Kentucky Tonight” guests had settled into their seats in Studio A. The guests were there to discuss the state’s public employee pension problems and the reform measures slowly making their way through the General Assembly.

The host was caught off-guard too.

I had asked Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Georgetown; State Representative Brent Yonts of Greenville, chair of the House State Government Committee; Bryan Sunderland, vice president of public affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; and Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and a member of the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition to come to the “Kentucky Tonight” table to discuss Senate Bill 2, which passed out the Senate. The bill was assigned to Chairman Yonts’ committee in the House.

Late Monday afternoon, Rep. Yonts met with Democrats in the House to explain the changes he intended to introduce which would dramatically alter the pension bill passed by the Senate.
Around 7 PM last night, House Speaker Greg Stumbo explained to several members of the press corps a proposal to fund the pension system using an expansion of Kentucky lottery games to be offered to players.

All of this was happening as our guests were getting their microphones attached and last- minute adjustments were being made before we began our broadcast conversation on KET.
What follows demonstrates that any solution to resolve pension reform in this session of the 2013 legislature may be difficult.

In this clip, Yonts and Thayer disagree over the changes being made to Senate Bill 2:

Later, “Kentucky Tonight” panelists Bailey and Sunderland debated the differences in a hybrid retirement plan and a traditional defined benefit offering which is available to public employees today.

The House is expected to act on pensions this week; the bill will then be reassigned to the state Senate for action.

With only a few days remaining in the session, no one is really sure what might be the final resolution of this serious problem facing the Commonwealth.

Pill Mill Bills on Kentucky Tonight

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

After a successful Telefund 2012 campaign, we’re back on KET this Monday night with an important discussion and debate on Kentucky’s pain pill epidemic.

As this year’s session of the General Assembly enters its final days, two competing bills aimed at solving the state’s growing problem with prescription drug abuse will face lawmakers.

House Bill 4, sponsored by Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, would move control of the electronic prescription monitoring program to Attorney General Jack Conway’s office. Speaker Stumbo says the move will strengthen the oversight of pill and some pain clinics that experts agree claim the lives of nearly 1,000 Kentuckians a year.

The competing bill comes from the State Senate. Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Senator Jimmy Higdon, would leave control of the drug monitoring system called KASPER, the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System, with the state health department.

It’s likely the two bills are headed for a conference committee compromise between members of the State House and Senate. The important aspect of the debate is that it casts attention and action on the Commonwealth’s growing drug abuse problem and everyone is in favor of that.

Our guests include State Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, chair of the House Judiciary Committee; State Sen. Tom Jensen, R-London, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway; Dr. Shawn Jones, president of the Kentucky Medical Association.

It will be good to be back with you on Kentucky Tonight. Remember, you can call in or contact us online or by social media at 8/7 pm CT on KET.

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