Bevin's 'political stunt' backfires

By BILL FINN

State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

The 2018 Kentucky General Assembly special session adjourned this evening without passing a pension bill.

Gov. Matt Bevin called for a special session on Monday at 4 p.m. to start only 4 hours later. Apparently only a handful of the 138 legislators were aware of this call to Frankfort to resolve one of the most complex issues facing the commonwealth.

The pension legislation's sponsor, Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Eastwood, had not even received a copy of the governor’s 252-page bill until 3:45 p.m. Monday.  

Originally, it was said that that the new pension bill, HB 1, was the same as SB 151 (the "Sewer Bill") that the Republican majority passed in the regular 2018 session, only to have it thrown out by the Kentucky Supreme Court on procedural grounds last week.

As it turns out, HB 1, which was available to read only late last night, differed dramatically from the 291-page SB 151.

Because of the differences between these bills, the Republican majority apparently could not agree in their caucus and didn’t have the votes to pass either HB 1 or SB 151. The Democratic minority had no prior knowledge of the contents in HB 1 and no advanced notice of the special session.

The House and Senate adjourned about 7:45 p.m. ending the planned 5-Day Session in only 2 days to stop wasting taxpayers' money. A minimum of $130,000 was spent for this failed special session.

After adjournment, and to no one’s surprise, Gov. Bevin blamed the legislators for failing to pass his secret, last-minute HB 1 and then admitted he hadn’t read the bill to know what was in it.

This political stunt backfired for Bevin, and any sense of transparency that we deserve and expect from government will never be on his radar. This anti-labor governor was ranked the 4th worst governor in the country in an October poll, and he just may take the top (or, perhaps, the bottom) spot now.

We will have a chance to make a change next November and replace Bevin with either of two great candidates for governor who have announced for next May's Democratic primary.

Attorney Gen. Andy Beshear and House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins are great supporters of the building trades, and either one will be a great replacement for Bevin. Either one will put Kentucky workers first and restore some integrity in Frankfort.