Kentucky Politicians Vote Away Teachers Self Paid Pensions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(Since (R) Governor Matt Bevin came into office two yrs ago he non-stop has been attacking the Kentucky education system stripping the system and its educators of funding. Kentucky was already one of the lowest rated/funded systems in the country yet it just keeps getting worse under Gov. Bevin. The teachers pension fund was self funded and the Politicians (mostly all Republicans) have now stolen those funds. Ky educators get no Social Security benefits, this self funded pension was all they had, now Gov. Bevin and his Republican thieves have even stolen that money. It is time for all schools in the state of Kentucky to go on strike until Gov. Bevin is removed from office!) (Commentary by oldpoet56) 

Kentucky teachers to skip work after lawmakers’ ‘bait and switch’ on pension reform

Retired teacher Lydia Coffey chants "Vote them out" as lawmakers in Kentucky debate a bill to make changes to the state's pension system.

Story highlights

  • Pension bill passed Kentucky’s House and Senate and heads to governor’s desk
  • Changes to pension were put into sewage bill, in a move angering Democrats and teachers

(CNN)Several Kentucky teachers won’t be going to work Friday after the state legislature approved changes to their pension on Thursday.

Educators, who are furious over the pension issue, called out of work in protest. At least nine counties have canceled school, the Kentucky Democrats tweeted early Friday. Kentucky has 120 counties.
The bill, which overhauls the state’s pension, passed mostly on party lines and heads to Gov. Matt Bevin, who supports reforming the system. State leaders say it’s critical to fix the pension crisis, which ranks as one of the worst in the US.
Kentucky teachers have opposed changes to their pension, which was in Senate Bill 1 that proposed reducing benefits.
But in a surprise move, elements of Senate Bill 1 were tucked into another bill, Senate Bill 151, which had been about sewage services, reported several CNN affiliates in Kentucky. And the new, nearly 300-page Senate Bill 151 passed both the state House and Senate Thursday to the chagrin of teachers and retirees who crammed into the Capitol.
“Just vote no!” they chanted Thursday. “Vote them out!”
The Kentucky Education Association, which represents teachers and other education professionals, slammed the maneuver as a “classic legislative bait and switch.”
“It stripped all the ‘local provision of wastewater services’ language out of SB151 and replaced it with many of the harmful provisions of SB1,” the association stated.
The group expressed further concern: “We haven’t seen the bill, weren’t allowed to testify. The bill hasn’t had the required actuarial analysis, includes no fiscal impact statement and no fiscal note.”
A summary of the bill has the following, according to CNN affiliate WKYT:
  • There will be no changes to the annual cost of living adjustments, which will remain at 1.5%.
  • New hires will have to enter a hybrid cash balance plan, in which members contribute a specified amount into their account.
  • Limits the number of sick days teachers can put toward their retirement.
Kentucky Republicans tweeted a summary of the bill.
Republican lawmakers attempted to allay concerns, saying that the bill is a compromise to save the state’s pension.
“I would urge everyone to take a deep breath and not buy into the talking points and the hyperbole,” Sen. Damon Thayer, a Republican, said during the discussion. “This is good news for teachers, current, retired and future, because it puts Kentucky’s pension systems on a path to sustainability.”
The bill passed the House in a 49-46 vote and the Senate by 22-15, according to CNN affiliate WLKY.
Gov. Bevin, a Republican praised the lawmakers who supported the bill for not “kicking the pension problem down the road.”
But Democrats and opponents of the bill disagreed. Kentucky’s Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat tweeted: “This is government at its worst.”
Inspired by the West Virginia strike, in which teachers went on strike and won concessions, teachers are similarly organizing and publicly pressuring their state lawmakers in states including Oklahoma and Arizona.

Kentucky Becomes First State to Adopt New Medicaid Work Requirement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces federal approval of Kentucky's Medicaid waiver in Frankfort, Ky on Jan. 12, 2018
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces federal approval of Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver in Frankfort, Ky on Jan. 12, 2018
Alex Slitz—Lexington Herald-Leader/AP

By ALANA ABRAMSON

10:50 AM EST

The state of Kentucky has become the first to adopt the Trump administration’s new policy of imposing work requirements as a precondition of receiving Medicaid benefits.

Consequently, residents of Kentucky who are on Medicaid and considered healthy enough to work, must now comply with certain requirements to receive the health care provided by the government program.

The Trump administration announced on January 11 that states could impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. One day later, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a waiver for Kentucky adopting that new policy for the next five years. Under the program, which officially starts in July, Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 19 and 64 who do not meet exemption requirements must complete at least 80 hours per month of “community engagement,” which includes work, school, job skills training, or community service. If they do not complete the requirements, Medicaid eligibility will be suspended. The program exempts several categories of recipients, including pregnant women, those diagnosed as “medically frail,” primary caregivers, and former foster care youth.

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“It will be transformational,” Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said in an announcement Friday. “Transformational in all the right ways, in good ways, in powerful ways.”

More than 2 million people are on Medicaid in Kentucky, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is nearly one quarter of the state’s population. Kentucky was among the 33 states to adopt the Medicaid expansion program that is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act enacted under the Obama administration, but Bevin has been seeking to implement these changes since he was elected in 2015.

Bevin also defended the program from criticism that it was essentially punishing lower income people, and insisted that the program will only impact those who are physically able to work. The recipients of the program who are unable to comply with the new regulations, he said, will remain unaffected.

“This idea that somehow we are punishing people, that this will be a detriment to people I think is a huge huge misunderstanding of what people need,” he said, noting that he himself came from a low-income family. “There is dignity associated with owning the value of something you receive.”

 

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