Senate 'ready to go' on pension reform

WV budget passes legislative session ends

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They stood outside Bowen Tire and Auto on Frederica Street in Owensboro for more than an hour Saturday morning.

"This was a hard bill for a lot of us", Lovejoy said. This is what we have.

The House voted 109-1 on Friday for the bill, which would prohibit anyone under the age of 17 from getting married.

By week's end, though, the legislation had taken an uncertain turn as it was recommitted back to the committee for further review rather than coming up for a vote in the full Senate.

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But the Kansas bill stalled after changes were made by the Senate's Federal and State Affairs Committee.

Lawmakers continued to negotiate the terms of opioid legislation, with the Senate standing firm in its position that insurance companies should not put obstacles in the way of medication-assisted therapy.

Meanwhile, the protests at local schools will occur Thursday as a result of organizing by KEA, the state's teacher union.

House Bill 4145, which was finalized Tuesday and ended nine days statewide walkout of school employees, offers the raise to teachers, service personnel and state police. The state is at least $41 billion short of the money required to pay benefits over the next 30 years.

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A crowd of teachers, state employees and others opposed to Gov. Matt Bevin's pension plan gathered on the steps of the state capitol last November. In Oklahoma, the president of the state's largest teachers' organization said Thursday that teachers will walk out of their classrooms April 2 if lawmakers don't approve a $6,000 raise by April 1.

"And I would point out, that this budget not only passed by day 60, it also passed unanimously in both houses and that is very unusual as well", said House Speaker Tim Armstead, (R) West Virginia.

"The reality is this: I'm saving the pension system".

Teresa Chaulk, the superintendent of Lincoln County School District No. 1, said that was the rumor going around the building Thursday.

Jones speculated that lawmakers from rural areas were feeling pressure to vote against the bill.

The state Department of Finance and Administration projected that a proposal allowing Arkansans to use funds from their 529 college savings plans for K-12 expenses would cost the state up to $5.2 million a year.

Thayer noted funding is also part of the equation with the budget now moving through the legislative process containing full funding for the state's retirement systems with more than $3 billion going to pensions over the next two years. In January, the Legislative Council authorized Milligan to create this new position with a maximum authorized salary of $97,400 a year.

Throughout the week, Bevin said he would reserve his opinions on the legislation until it was on his desk. When it comes to whether he'll pursue criminal or civil penalties, he said, "We'll have to see what their appetite for that is".

Louisville Senator Dan Seum voted no and cited an example of two committed 16 year olds where pregnancy is involved as a time when parental consent should be sufficient to allow for marriage.

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