Capitol Watch

Kentucky Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Pension Bill

Kentucky Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Pension BillAll seven members of the Kentucky Supreme Court peppered Governor Matt Bevin's general counsel and Attorney General Andy Beshear with questions as they argued before the state's high court on the constitutionality of Senate Bill 151, the pension reform law.


Kentucky's Drug Epidemic Takes A Toll

Kentucky's Drug Epidemic Takes A TollVan Ingram, the executive director of the Kentucky Office Of Drug Control Policy, testified Wednesday on the growing number of overdose deaths in the state. The Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee also heard how local control is important as cities battle the epidemic.


Separation Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting

Separation Advisory Committee Holds First MeetingMembers of the newly formed advisory subcommittee to study CERS separation have begun to meet. Separation is the top priority for KLC in the 2019 legislative session. The meeting began after a lengthy Public Pension Oversight Board (PPOB) meeting in which Kentucky Retirement Systems executives gave an overview of cash flow and investment returns for the end of Fiscal Year 2018.


CERS Grows While State Pension System Continues to Struggle

CERS Grows While State Pension System Continues to StruggleNew data released Thursday at the Kentucky Retirement Systems Audit Committee shows CERS grew 6% in Fiscal Year 2018, despite seeing a decline in investment income from the previous fiscal year. The troubled KERS nonhazardous pension plan saw a $44 million loss. KLC believes separation of CERS from KRS is the best path forward to deal with management and administration concerns and ensure its continued growth.


Local Representatives Take Seats on 911 Board

Local Representatives Take Seats on 911 BoardTaylor Mill Mayor Dan Bell and Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison have been appointed to the new 911 Services Board. It was formed after the governor signed House Bill 424, a KLC initiative to return local representatives to the board.


Governor Promotes Local Control at Bill Signing

Governor Promotes Local Control at Bill SigningSupporters of House Bill 114 gathered at the Governor's Local Issues Conference for a ceremonial signing of the KLC-supported bill. Governor Matt Bevin told the crowd "I'd rather you'd control your own money."


Could CERS Have Better Investment Returns?

Could CERS Have Better Investment Returns?Returns posted by the Kentucky Retirement Systems for the end of the fiscal year show investments were above benchmarks, but recent changes in asset allocations may drag its numbers down. KLC continues to believe CERS separation is the best path forward for the local pension system to ensure it is not hampered by administration and management concerns.


Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear Pension Case

Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear Pension CaseThe state's highest court has set a September 20 hearing date for the governor's appeal to a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that invalidated the pension law, Senate Bill 151. The Kentucky Supreme Court will now decide if the law was passed legally.


KLC Board Sets 2019 Legislative Priorities

KLC Board Sets 2019 Legislative PrioritiesThe KLC Board of Directors has finalized its priorities for the 2019 legislative session with separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), modernization of the road funding formula and flexibility and protection of the state's tax laws topping the list.


Kentucky Overdose Deaths on the Rise

Kentucky Overdose Deaths on the RiseAccording to a new report from the Kentucky Office Of Drug Control Policy, the state recorded an 11.5 percent increase in overdose deaths in 2017. While heroin deaths declined, fentanyl and other drugs saw a spike.


Changes Revenue Bill Will Have on State Budget Hard to Gauge

Changes Revenue Bill Will Have on State Budget Hard to GaugeEconomists in charge of mapping out Kentucky's financial future met to discuss the possible impact of tax changes made in the 2018 session. Representatives of the Office of the State Budget Director and Kentucky Department of Revenue testified that it is hard to predict how the fiscal year will fare.


Loans Approved for Hopkinsville Broadband Project

Loans Approved for Hopkinsville Broadband ProjectThe city of Hopkinsville is getting help from the state as it expands broadband service. The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee approved loans for the Hopkinsville Electric System for the next phase of a project that Mayor Carter Hendricks says is vital to ensure Hopkinsville becomes a Gig City.


Governor Wants Judge to Amend Pension Ruling

Governor Wants Judge to Amend Pension RulingGovernor Bevin's general counsel filed a new motion in the pension lawsuit asking Franklin Circuit Court to alter, amend or vacate a June ruling that declares Senate Bill 151 invalid.


Federal Commission on School Safety Holds Listening Session in Kentucky

Federal Commission on School Safety Holds Listening Session in KentuckyPresident Trump created the Federal Commission on School Safety after the Parkland, Florida shooting. On Tuesday, it came to Kentucky to hear from Governor Matt Bevin, legislators, law enforcement, the public and others on what the state is doing to try and curb the increase of violence in our schools.


Members of CERS Separation Group Announced as KRS Testifies on New Investments

Members of CERS Separation Group Announced as KRS Testifies on New InvestmentsPPOB co-chair Jerry Miller announced at a Monday afternoon meeting that members of a subcommittee to study CERS separation have been selected. That information came after testimony from the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees Chairman its and Executive Director on a recent decision to adopt a new investment strategy for all plans, including CERS.


Tax Panel Told Cities Need More Revenue Options

Tax Panel Told Cities Need More Revenue OptionsKLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney told a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce tax panel that cities are looking to the legislature to provide more options to fund the growing demand on city services. Representative Ken Fleming is heading up a new tax task force and hopes to have tax reform by 2020.


Is Your City Ready for the New Tax Laws?

Is Your City Ready for the New Tax Laws?New tax laws that go into effect July 1, 2018, may have a significant impact on your city. We are continuing to gather information on what will fall under the new requirement for the 6 percent sales and use tax and on changes that need to be made to withholding due to the flat 5 percent state income tax rate.


KLC Board Votes on 2019 Legislative Agenda

KLC Board Votes on 2019 Legislative AgendaFrom CERS separation to modernizing the road funding formula and limiting the peace officer powers of untrained constables, the KLC Board of Directors voted Thursday on a wide range of priorities for the 2019 legislative session.


2018 'Friend of Kentucky Cities' Award Winners Announced

2018 'Friend of Kentucky Cities' Award Winners Announcedhe KLC Board of Directors named a record number of legislators as 2018 'Friend of Kentucky Cities' award winners. Eleven senators and 18 representatives will be honored this year for performing outstanding work advocating for issues that impact cities across the state.


Judge Strikes Down Pension Law

Judge Strikes Down Pension LawFranklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd has ruled in favor of a lawsuit against the state's new pension law. The judge says the law is invalid because it was not read three times before passage and because it did not pass with a constitutional majority vote.


Cities and Schools Team Up to Promote Civics Education

Cities and Schools Team Up to Promote Civics EducationThe Kentucky League of Cities offers a unique program to schools across Kentucky. City Government Month provides a teacher created and approved civics lesson plan, along with various other tools for teachers and parents. It also asks city leaders to participate in teaching elementary school students about their local government.


Legislative Group Formed to Draft Sports Betting Proposal

Legislative Group Formed to Draft Sports Betting ProposalA bipartisan group of legislators have formed a group to draft and file legislation in the House and Senate that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky.


Governor Files Amended Complaint in Pension Lawsuit

Governor Files Amended Complaint in Pension LawsuitOne week after a lengthy hearing in the lawsuit over the state's new pension bill, lawyers for Governor Matt Bevin have filed an amended complaint. It asks the judge to rule that the pension bill and others passed in the 2018 session, including the bill that provides for a phase-in of CERS employer contribution rates, do not have to be read out loud three times in order to be valid.


Legislators Hear Three-Pronged Approach to School Safety

Legislators Hear Three-Pronged Approach to School SafetyThe Interim Joint Committee on Education heard from KLC Senior Law Enforcement Liaison Mark Filburn and others on what Kentucky legislators and communities can do to improve school safety in the state.


Kentucky City Population Continues Growth

Kentucky City Population Continues GrowthNew population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show more and more people are choosing to live in a Kentucky city, creating a greater demand for city services.


KRS Board Votes For Conservative CERS Investments Despite Successful Growth Funds

KRS Board Votes For Conservative CERS Investments Despite Successful Growth FundsThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees approved a new investment approach for CERS that pulls away from growth funds, even though they have outperformed fixed income funds over the past five years. They also talked about a study that's underway into assumption rates for all KRS plans.


State Budget Director Claims CERS Phase-in Threatened by Pension Lawsuit

State Budget Director Claims CERS Phase-in Threatened by Pension LawsuitKLC responded to a letter the governor's budget director sent to city officials warning that a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state's new pension law poses a threat to the law providing a phase-in of CERS employer contribution rates.


Hearing Held in Pension Lawsuit

Hearing Held in Pension LawsuitKentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear and general counsel for Governor Matt Bevin were in court Thursday to argue the merits of the lawsuit filed against the state's new pension bill.


Committee Told It's Time to Increase Transportation Funding

Committee Told It's Time to Increase Transportation FundingThe first meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation brought a dire message from the Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He outlined a five-year forecast that leaves a lot of projects underfunded if the state doesn't act to change the way transportation infrastructure is paid for in Kentucky.


Legislators Get Update on Pension Systems, Prepare for KLC Requested CERS Separation Study

Legislators Get Update on Pension Systems, Prepare for KLC Requested CERS Separation StudyThe Public Pension Oversight Board held its first meeting Monday since the end of the 2018 Regular Session. Chairman Joe Bowen reported that efforts are underway to form the subcommittee, required by law, to study the possibility of separating the County Employees Retirement System from Kentucky Retirement Systems.


School Safety Group Holds First Meeting

School Safety Group Holds First MeetingKentucky Senator Max Wise says it's time to look for bipartisan solutions to school safety. Wise and Representative Bam Carney co-chair the newly formed School Safety Working Group that held its first meeting Monday afternoon.


Governor Holds Ceremonial Signing of KLC Initiative He Calls "Critical"

Governor Holds Ceremonial Signing of KLC Initiative He Calls House Bill 324, sponsored by Representative Diane Murray St Onge, was a KLC initiative that prohibits the use of a drone over a city's key infrastructure assets. Wednesday, Governor Matt Bevin held a ceremonial signing of the bill.


Governor Signs Bill and Helps Ship Bourbon

Governor Signs Bill and Helps Ship BourbonThe Kentucky League of Cities joined dozens of other supporters and legislators Friday morning for the ceremonial signing of House Bill 400. The KLC-supported bill allows distilleries, small-farm wineries and retail package license holders to ship limited quantities of product directly to consumers.


Judge in Pension Lawsuit Case Asked to Step Down

Judge in Pension Lawsuit Case Asked to Step DownGovernor Bevin's general counsel had a letter delivered to Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday that asked the judge to recuse himself from hearing the lawsuit filed against the governor and legislative leadership over the new pension law. The judge denied the request.


2018 Legislative Update

2018 Legislative UpdateThe 2018 Regular Session of the General Assembly resulted in several new laws that will impact cities. You can access a comprehensive rundown here.


Task Force Releases Report on Getting More Kentuckians Employed

Task Force Releases Report on Getting More Kentuckians EmployedKentucky’s Work Matters Task Force released its recommendations for how the state can help people in at-risk groups find employment.


Judge Denies Request For Depositions in Pension Lawsuit

Judge Denies Request For Depositions in Pension LawsuitGovernor Matt Bevin and others named in a lawsuit over the pension reform law were denied a request after a Monday morning court hearing. The judge says the defendants cannot depose the three agencies that filed the lawsuit.


New CERS Investment Strategy Unveiled Despite Booming Returns

New CERS Investment Strategy Unveiled Despite Booming ReturnsThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Investment Committee and its consultants talked Tuesday about taking a “safer” approach to investments, including those made for CERS. That decision came as new data was revealed that shows CERS continues to hit benchmarks and outperform the assumed rate of return.


Speaker Pro Tem Wants Investigation into KentuckyWired

Speaker Pro Tem Wants Investigation into KentuckyWiredHouse Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne filed a resolution calling for a bipartisan committee to investigate the costs and delays of KentuckyWired. The project was supposed to be up and running by this year, providing high speed internet to every county in the state.


KRS Actuary Sets CERS Rates for Phase-In

KRS Actuary Sets CERS Rates for Phase-InThe actuary for the Kentucky Retirement Systems has provided new Fiscal Year 2019 rates for County Employees Retirement System employers. The change accounts for the phase-in provided by House Bill 362.


Judge Rules Attorney General Can Remain on Pension Lawsuit

Judge Rules Attorney General Can Remain on Pension LawsuitLawyers for Governor Matt Bevin argued in court Wednesday morning that Attorney General Andy Beshear was violating Rules of Professional Conduct by suing over Senate Bill 151, the pension reform bill. The judge ruled that was not the case and continued his vow to expedite the case.


KRS Board Discusses New CERS Contribution Rates

KRS Board Discusses New CERS Contribution RatesThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees heard Thursday that actuaries expect to have new CERS employer contribution rates computed by next week. They are being refigured to account for the phase-in component of House Bill 362.


Legislature Ends 2018 Session

Legislature Ends 2018 SessionBefore adjourning the 2018 session sine die, the House and Senate passed bills that tweaked the budget and revenue bills and passed two KLC initiatives.


KLC Board Calls for Veto Overrides

KLC Board Calls for Veto OverridesThe KLC Board of Directors voted to support a veto override of the CERS phase-in, budget and revenue bills. “The phase-in for CERS is too vital to risk a second veto that could not be corrected,” pointed out KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney.


How Phase-In Component of HB 362 Works

How Phase-In Component of HB 362 WorksHouse Bill 362, passed Monday by the legislature, provides a phase-in of CERS employer contribution rates. Read how it will work and what the bill means to cities.


Budget, Tax Reform & CERS Phase-in Among Bills Passed On Last Day Before Veto Break

Budget, Tax Reform & CERS Phase-in Among Bills Passed On Last Day Before Veto BreakSeveral bills that impact cities were among those passed as the legislature met into the night on Monday, the last day of the Regular Session before the 10-day veto break.


New Pension Bill Introduced and Passed Thursday

New Pension Bill Introduced and Passed ThursdayA new pension reform bill was introduced and sent to the governor in an eight hour period. The new bill, a House committee substitute to Senate Bill 151 - a wastewater treatment bill, retains some provisions of the previous pension bill, Senate Bill 1, and adds new components.


CERS Sees Strong Returns as Employers Brace for Drastic Contribution Increases

CERS Sees Strong Returns as Employers Brace for Drastic Contribution IncreasesTestimony Monday before the Public Pension Oversight Board showed the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) saw a 16 percent investment return for calendar year 2017. The report from the Legislative Research Commission comes as CERS employers brace for contribution rate increases on July 1 that are the result of the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) Board of Trustees lowering assumption rates.


Workers' Compensation Bill Headed for Final Vote on the Senate Floor

Workers' Compensation Bill Headed for Final Vote on the Senate FloorThe Senate State and Local Government Committee passed House Bill 2 Wednesday. The KLC initiative, sponsored by Representative Adam Koenig, modernizes Kentucky's workers' compensation law by improving care and reducing costs.


Transportation Bill Provides Cities More Road Funds

Transportation Bill Provides Cities More Road FundsCities could see more road funds under a bill filed by Representative Sal Santoro. He testified Tuesday before the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, along with bill cosponsor Representative John Sims, on how the bill modernizes Kentucky's road funding formula and provides new revenue to improve the state's infrastructure.


Bill Aims to Curb Gang Violence

Bill Aims to Curb Gang ViolenceThe House Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed House Bill 169. KLC supports the bill that aims to curb gang violence in Kentucky.


Groups Call for Equal Voting for CERS Members on KRS Board

Groups Call for Equal Voting for CERS Members on KRS BoardThe Kentucky League of Cities and other groups that support separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) have put forth a proposed compromise.


KLC Summary of Senate Bill 1

KLC Summary of Senate Bill 1The Kentucky League of Cities is continuing to review Senate Bill 1. We have provided a summary of various provisions in the bill that you can access here.


Committee Passes Bill to Redevelop Brownfields

The House Natural Resources and Energy Committee passed House Bill 370. The KLC initiative, sponsored by Representative Robby Mills, aims to improve economic development in local communities by streamlining the process of brownfield redevelopment.


KLC Annexation Initiative Passes House Committee

The House Local Government passed Senate Bill 97 after hearing from the bill’s sponsor, Senator Rick Girdler (R-Somerset) and KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney. Girdler told members of the committee he filed the bill after an annexation issue in his district.


Leadership Answers Questions on New Pension Bill

Leadership Answers Questions on New Pension BillSenate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne and SB 1 sponsor, Senator Joe Bowen, answered questions from the media Wednesday morning about the new pension bill. It does not include a phase-in of contribution rates for CERS and does not include weighted voting to address concerns with CERS management by the KRS Board of Trustees.


Pension Bill Released

Pension Bill ReleasedSenator Joe Bowen (R-Owensboro) filed Senate Bill 1, the pension bill, and then spoke on the Senate floor about the effort to draft the bill.


KLC Initiative to Reform Workers' Compensation Passes Committee

KLC Initiative to Reform Workers' Compensation Passes CommitteeThe House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee passed House Bill 2 Thursday after testimony from supporters, including KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney. The bill's sponsor, Representative Adam Koenig, says it's time to give the law a much needed update that will improve access to correct medical care while decreasing costs.


KLC Initiative Aims to Set Guidelines for Release of Body Camera Video

KLC Initiative Aims to Set Guidelines for Release of Body Camera Video Among the KLC initiatives filed this week was House Bill 373. It would set guidelines under Kentucky’s Open Records Law for the release of video from police body-worn cameras.


KLC Expresses Concerns About Placing Alcohol Quota System in Statute

KLC Expresses Concerns About Placing Alcohol Quota System in StatuteKLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney and members of the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control expressed concerns Tuesday about a bill that would put the state’s population-based quota system in statute.


KLC Initiative on Annexation Passes Committee

KLC Initiative on Annexation Passes CommitteeThe Senate State and Local Government Committee passed Senate Bill 97 by an 11-0 vote. The bill, sponsored by Senator Rick Girdler, is a KLC initiative that focuses on the annexation of unoccupied areas.


KRS Looks to Refocus Some Pension Investments

KRS Looks to Refocus Some Pension InvestmentsNewly hired investment consultants are looking at how the Kentucky Retirement Systems invests assets for all of its pension systems, including CERS. It's pulling away from some fund managers and reinvesting some pension funds.


Uptick in Pensions Includes Administrative Costs

Uptick in Pensions Includes Administrative CostsThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Audit Committee provided updated information Thursday on second quarter finances for the state's public pension systems, including the County Employees Retirement System (CERS). In addition to assets, data was also provided on administrative expenses that are budgeted to reach $43 million this year.


Legislators Told it's Time to Modernize Kentucky's Road Fund

Legislators Told it's Time to Modernize Kentucky's Road FundThere was a lot of talk about updating Kentucky's Road Fund at Wednesday's meeting of the House Working Group on Transportation Infrastructure. While some groups want an increase in the motor fuels tax, KLC believes any modernization plan also needs to include the antiquated funding formula.


Bill to Update City Audit Requirements Passes Senate Committee

Bill to Update City Audit Requirements Passes Senate CommitteeThe Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously passed Senator Mike Wilson's Senate Bill 91. Senator Wilson, State Auditor Mike Harmon and KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney testified in support of the KLC initiative Wednesday afternoon.


Cities Warned Coal Severance Money In Decline

Cities Warned Coal Severance Money In DeclineState Budget Director John Chilton said "the squeeze is on" when testifying Tuesday before the House General Government Budget Review Subcommittee about Governor Matt Bevin's proposed budget and coal severance money.


Senate Committee Passes Bill to Prohibit Unfunded Mandates

Senate Committee Passes Bill to Prohibit Unfunded MandatesThe Senate State and Local Government Committee passed Senator Paul Hornback's Senate Bill 88. The KLC initiative prohibits the General Assembly from imposing unfunded mandates on cities.


State Budget Director Testifies on Proposed Budget & Programs Slated for Elimination

State Budget Director Testifies on Proposed Budget & Programs Slated for Elimination State Budget Director John Chilton and members of his staff testified Tuesday before both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations and Revenue. He provided more details on the proposed budget Governor Matt Bevin unveiled last week and on the 70 programs it cut.


Pension Board Hears About Looming Contribution Rate Increase

Pension Board Hears About Looming Contribution Rate IncreaseThe Public Pension Oversight Board heard Monday from representatives of the Kentucky Retirement Systems about the current status of the state's public pension systems and looming contribution rate increases. Senator Bowen also spoke about his frustration with the lack of a pension bill so far this session.


Governor Bevin Releases Budget Proposal

Governor Bevin Releases Budget ProposalThe governor gave his State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night and also unveiled his proposed two-year budget plan. It cuts funding for 70 programs and reduces spending by 6.25%.


Committee Passes Bill to Help City Investments

Committee Passes Bill to Help City InvestmentsThe House Committee on Local Government passed House Bill 75 after testimony Wednesday from the bill's sponsor, Representative Steve Riggs, and KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney. KLC supports the bill that would give cities more investment options.


House Committee Advances First Responder Bills

House Committee Advances First Responder BillsThe House Committee on Judiciary passed two first responder bills Wednesday, HB 61 and HB 68. Several legislators spoke out in favor of the KLC supported bills.


Marsy's Law Passes Senate With 34 to 1 Vote

Marsy's Law Passes Senate With 34 to 1 VoteSenate Bill 3, also known as Marsy's Law for Kentucky, passed the full Senate Wednesday afternoon. The bill would put a referendum before voters in November to amend the state's constitution to guarantee crime victims' rights.


House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Online Reporting by Pawnbrokers

House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Online Reporting by PawnbrokersThe House Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations unanimously passed House Bill 74. It requires pawnbrokers submit information to an online registry that is accessible to law enforcement.


Senate President Says Pension Bill In The Works

Senate President Says Pension Bill In The WorksSenate President Robert Stivers said Wednesday that a new pension bill draft should be coming "soon." He would not provide specifics on what it may contain, but did talk about current employees and the proposed 401 (a) plan.


2018 Session Gets Underway With A Big Agenda

2018 Session Gets Underway With A Big AgendaSeveral issues took center stage on the first day of the legislative session, from pension reform to establishing leadership for the House of Representatives.


Governor Bevin Calls 2017 a Success But Warns 2018 Will Bring Challenges

Governor Bevin Calls 2017 a Success But Warns 2018 Will Bring ChallengesGovernor Matt Bevin held a news conference Thursday morning to outline what he said were the legislative victories of 2017. He also talked about major issues that will be tackled in 2018, including pension reform and drafting a new state budget.


Legislative Leaders Admit They Have Ambitious Agenda for 2018 Session

Legislative Leaders Admit They Have Ambitious Agenda for 2018 Session Members of House and Senate leadership talked Tuesday about their goals for the 2018 Regular Session of the General Assembly, which starts January 2. They all agreed the agenda is aggressive and that pension reform will now need to be the top priority.


Lawmakers Warned of Increased Pension Costs Resulting From July Rate Changes

Lawmakers Warned of Increased Pension Costs Resulting From July Rate ChangesMembers of the Legislative Research Commission testified to the Public Pension Oversight Board about the actuarial and financial status of the state's public pension systems. Testimony showed how much healthier the County Employees Retirement System is and how assumption rate changes made in July could impact cities if not phased in as requested.


Work Group Issues Recommendations For Criminal Justice Reform in Kentucky

Work Group Issues Recommendations For Criminal Justice Reform in KentuckyA Work Group that's been investigating criminal justice reform for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet issued recommendations this week that include everything from changing pretrial release requirements to providing treatment instead of incarceration for low-level offenders. They also talked about ways to help local communities dealing with overcrowded jails.


Revenue Adjustment Leaves Kentucky with $156.1M Budget Shortfall

Revenue Adjustment Leaves Kentucky with $156.1M Budget ShortfallThe Consensus Forecasting Group approved new forecasts for the state's General Fund and Road Fund during a meeting Friday morning. While they did not take a pessimistic view, the new projections did leave both funds in the red. Read what State Budget Director John Chilton said about future budget reduction plans.


CERS Contribution Rates Approved as Renewed Call For Phase-In is Dismissed

CERS Contribution Rates Approved as Renewed Call For Phase-In is Dismissed  The KRS Board of Trustees approved employer contribution rates that will result in a $108 million increase for Kentucky cities. We have comparison charts and a city-by-city analysis. The Thursday vote came after some Board members asked once again for a phase-in of the changes.


KRS Audit Finds KERS Drives up Administrative Expenses; CERS Payroll & Investments Bring in More Money

KRS Audit Finds KERS Drives up Administrative Expenses; CERS Payroll & Investments Bring in More MoneyA final FY 2017 audit of the Kentucky Retirement Systems will be presented Thursday at the KRS Board of Trustee's meeting. Preliminary information released Monday at a committee hearing shows CERS performing above expectations.


KLC Presents 2018 Legislative Agenda

KLC Presents 2018 Legislative AgendaEverything from CERS separation to newspaper publication requirements and modernization of the state's road funding formula was addressed Wednesday morning when the Kentucky League of Cities outlined its 2018 Legislative Agenda to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government.


Kentucky Focus of Federal Opioid Discussions

Kentucky Focus of Federal Opioid DiscussionsThe U.S. Attorney General and DEA announced a new DEA field division in Louisville this week, as Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley testifies before a Senate Committee about the impact of opioids on the commonwealth.


Kentucky Work Matters Task Force Finalizing Recommendations

Kentucky Work Matters Task Force Finalizing RecommendationsThe task force, announced by Governor Bevin in June, held its final meeting this week to review a draft of its report and recommendations. Members of the group also discussed possible obstacles, including the state's pension problems.


Federal Tax Overhaul a Mixed Bag for Cities

Federal Tax Overhaul a Mixed Bag for CitiesTax reform has been the topic of conversation on Capitol Hill, with Republican leadership in the House and Senate debating various proposals. We've compiled a list of key issues being discussed that could impact cities.


Kentucky Committee Told $50 Million Still Needed to Repair Local Airports

Kentucky Committee Told $50 Million Still Needed to Repair Local AirportsThe Transportation Cabinet's Department of Aviation told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue it will need another $20 million over the next two fiscal years to continue fixing airports in cities across the state.


House Passes Bipartisan Brownfields Reauthorization

House Passes Bipartisan Brownfields ReauthorizationThe U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to reauthorize the brownfields remediation program within the EPA. Kentucky has an estimated 8,000 brownfields throughout the commonwealth.


Legislators Question if Drug Epidemic Leading to Infant Deaths in Kentucky

Legislators Question if Drug Epidemic Leading to Infant Deaths in KentuckyRepresentatives from the Department for Public Health testified Wednesday about the growing number of sudden unexpected infant deaths in Kentucky. Several lawmakers questioned if the state is doing enough to protect newborns from drug dependent parents.


Transportation Cabinet Testifies Road Fund Income Falling Short

Transportation Cabinet Testifies Road Fund Income Falling ShortThe House Working Group on Kentucky's Transportation Infrastructure heard Tuesday about outdated fees and formulas that have resulted in a state Road Fund that's in need of repair. One update KLC supports is a fairer allocation of local motor fuels tax income.


Preliminary Analysis of Kentucky Pension Reform Bill Not Released

Preliminary Analysis of Kentucky Pension Reform Bill Not ReleasedDespite the actuarial analysis of the pension reform bill being on the agenda for Monday's Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees meeting, it was not released. The Board did, however, hear from a consulting firm that reported good Fiscal Year 2017 returns for CERS.


Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Says Local Security Program in the Works

Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Says Local Security Program in the WorksHomeland Security Executive Director John Holiday testified Thursday before an Interim Joint Committee about current budget needs and future programs. The Office also provided information on the 911 Services Board, which was reassigned to Homeland Security by an executive order issued by Governor Bevin.


Transportation Cabinet Says Kentucky Cities Need Constitutional Amendment for Riverports

Transportation Cabinet Says Kentucky Cities Need Constitutional Amendment for RiverportsAn engineer with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet told legislators at a Tuesday hearing that a section of the state constitution limits contracts with businesses looking to move into a city riverport.


State Budget Director Testifies CERS Employers Funded Above ARC

State Budget Director Testifies CERS Employers Funded Above ARCState Budget Director John Chilton testified Thursday before the Public Pension Oversight Board about the pension bill draft released last week. Legislators are still working out details of the proposed pension bill. Chilton talked about what led to funding shortfalls for the state's pension plans, including the County Employees Retirement System.


Draft of Pension Reform Bill Released

Draft of Pension Reform Bill ReleasedKentucky legislators received a copy of the pension bill draft Friday night. We have included it, along with a section-by-section summary and side-by-side comparison chart.


KLC Continues to Communicate with Governor & Legislators About Pension Reform

KLC Continues to Communicate with Governor & Legislators About Pension ReformThe KLC Board of Directors voted to not take a position on the framework released last week until a bill draft can be analyzed. In the meantime, KLC is reaching out to Governor Bevin & legislators to convey concerns and questions.


Case Made for Modernizing Kentucky's Road Aid Formula

Case Made for Modernizing Kentucky's Road Aid FormulaMembers of the House Working Group on Kentucky's Transportation Infrastructure heard Tuesday afternoon about a proposal that would help cities struggling to maintain roads in booming urban areas. The plan does not take from county coffers, utilizing instead a new formula for new revenue.


Kentucky Senator Honored at Shelbyville Meeting as Council Supports CERS Separation

Kentucky Senator Honored at Shelbyville Meeting as Council Supports CERS SeparationThe Shelbyville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the separation of the County Employees Retirement System. The Mayor also joined KLC in thanking Senator Paul Hornback for fighting to protect cities from unfunded mandates.


Testimony Warns Kentucky Lawmakers of Hidden Dangers of Legalizing Marijuana

Testimony Warns Kentucky Lawmakers of Hidden Dangers of Legalizing MarijuanaA legislative Committee heard from a group of experts about the impact legalization of marijuana has had on states like Colorado. Kentucky lawmakers were told there are serious public protection concerns.


KLC Board Believes CERS Separation Best Protection for Local Tax Dollars

KLC Board Believes CERS Separation Best Protection for Local Tax DollarsThe Kentucky League of Cities Board of Directors was unanimous in voting to continue to support the separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the state's Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS). Board members say concerns remain about the management of CERS and the local tax dollars that go into the system.


City Officials Get Eye-Opening Report on Kentucky's Opioid Problem

City Officials Get Eye-Opening Report on Kentucky's Opioid ProblemFour experts in the battle against the growing opioid epidemic, including a UK doctor and Governor Bevin's deputy chief of staff, talked to a group of city officials about the state's efforts to curb the tide. The message to cities was it will take a team approach.


KLC & Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles' "Hunger Packing" Event Feeds More Than 1200 Children

KLC & Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles' More than 100 volunteers took part in a signature event during this week's KLC Conference & Expo. The group assembled meal kits for Kentucky children, something Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles told attendees is vitally important in the battle against hunger in Kentucky.


CERS Coalition Continues to Seek Separation After PPOB Testimony Shows High KRS Fees

CERS Coalition Continues to Seek Separation After PPOB Testimony Shows High KRS FeesThe Legislative Research Commission and Kentucky Retirement Systems Interim Executive Director testified Monday to the Public Pension Oversight Board. Testimony showed KRS paid nearly twice the investment fees of its peers.


KentuckyWired Project Hoping to Build Public Support

KentuckyWired Project Hoping to Build Public SupportThe KentuckyWired Project is planning a statewide radio campaign, with a familiar voice, as it struggles to reign in costs and legislative frustration over the project's troubled timeline and budget.


Kentucky Sees Boom in Prison Population

Kentucky Sees Boom in Prison PopulationA Criminal Justice Work Group was told Wednesday that more people in Kentucky are going to prison for drug crimes and parole violations. The Crime and Justice Institute presented a detailed report on what's driving the increases to Kentucky's prison population.


Large Crowd Attends First KRS Board Meeting Since Controversial Pension Report

Large Crowd Attends First KRS Board Meeting Since Controversial Pension Report Members of the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees met for hours Thursday with so many in attendance the crowd was forced into an overflow room. The Board discussed several changes and heard from the public.


KLC Joins Discussion on Local Government Tax Reform

KLC Joins Discussion on Local Government Tax ReformKLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney took part in a Tax Summit hosted by the KY Chamber of Commerce. Chaney and others voiced a unified opposition to centralized tax collection and discussed how possible tax reforms would impact cities.


State Budget Director Acknowledges Dire Consequences of KRS Board Actions

State Budget Director Acknowledges Dire Consequences of KRS Board ActionsDespite warnings back in July by KLC, the State Budget Director has now sent a memo to CERS employers about the severe impact rate changes made by the KRS Board will have to their budgets. KLC continues to feel separation is the best option for CERS.


Hundreds Attend CERS Separation & Stability Forums Across Kentucky

Hundreds Attend CERS Separation & Stability Forums Across KentuckyThe Kentucky League of Cities and a coalition of 23 other organizations held forums in seven cities to help inform CERS members, employers and retirees of the latest in the pension debate and the need for separation without structural or benefit changes.


KLC Board of Directors Evaluating PFM Pension Recommendations

KLC Board of Directors Evaluating PFM Pension RecommendationsMonday afternoon the PFM Group released its third and final report after studying Kentucky's pension plans. The report included recommended reforms that would bring drastic changes to future, current and retired public employees.


Governor Says CERS Separation "Topic of Discussion"

Governor Says CERS Separation Speaking at the Governor's Local Issues Conference in Louisville Thursday, Governor Bevin said lawmakers are "having a very frank discussion" about CERS separation. The governor also gave a passionate speech about pension reform.


Lawmakers Told Kentucky Needs Rules for Release of Police Body Camera Video

Lawmakers Told Kentucky Needs Rules for Release of Police Body Camera VideoA group, including the Kentucky League of Cities, law enforcement officials and Representative Robert Benvenuti testified Wednesday that Kentucky needs to provide clarity to how the Open Records Law pertains to police body camera video.


23 Kentucky Agencies Call for CERS Separation Without Unnecessary Changes

23 Kentucky Agencies Call for CERS Separation Without Unnecessary ChangesCurrent and retired CERS members met in Lexington Monday to hear from the members of a coalition that has banded together to support the separation of CERS without changes to its structure or benefits.


State Releases Pension Website to Make Their Case for Reforms

State Releases Pension Website to Make Their Case for ReformsA new website that became active this week outlines Governor Bevin and other state leaders' case for pension reform. The Kentucky League of Cities worries it takes too broad of an approach.


Kentucky Representative Says Lawmakers Need to Defend Home Rule

Kentucky Representative Says Lawmakers Need to Defend Home RuleRepresentative Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) says a lot of lawmakers like to say they're for home rule, but many will have to show it when they meet for this year's special session and next year's budget session. Lawmakers could take up several issues that impact cities, including pension and tax reform.


Group gives lawmakers results of study into state's pension system

Group gives lawmakers results of study into state's pension systemA group presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board Monday the results of its study, ordered by Governor Bevin, that looked into how the state's pension system got into a multibillion-dollar funding shortfall.


Lawmakers Told Local Publication Requirements Costly and Ineffective

Lawmakers Told Local Publication Requirements Costly and IneffectiveMembers of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government were told it's time Kentucky let local governments publish online. State law requires various documents be published in a local newspaper, but the Kentucky League of Cities and other groups testified that the rule is unnecessarily costly when social media and government websites get more traction.


Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer talks about Kentucky's Pension Problems

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer talks about Kentucky's Pension ProblemsKentucky Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) says he believes Republican leadership is ready to tackle the state's pension problems. He believes the best way to fix the pension system is to develop a business-friendly environment that leads to more taxpayers.


Kentucky Representative Says Fixing Kentucky's Pension System Will Take Some Tough Choices

Kentucky Representative Says Fixing Kentucky's Pension System Will Take Some Tough ChoicesRepresentative Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) talks about his firm support for separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), what tax reform in Kentucky will need to look like and why he believes expanded gambling may be the ticket to a better financial situation for the state.


Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen Talks About Kentucky's Pension Problems

Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen Talks About Kentucky's Pension Problems KLC sat down with Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen to talk about CERS separation, the crisis with KERS & SPRS funding, and what the state will have to consider to fix it.


KRS Board Ignores Request and Practice of Phasing In Changes To Assumption Rates

KRS Board Ignores Request and Practice of Phasing In Changes To Assumption RatesThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees voted for new assumption rates for both CERS plans but did not phase-in the changes as requested. The new rates will have a major impact on cities.


Kentucky Mayors Say Community Development Block Grants Vital to Cities

Kentucky Mayors Say Community Development Block Grants Vital to Cities Debate continues in Washington, DC, over a new budget. President Trump has proposed several cuts, including Community Development Block Grants. Two Kentucky mayors say those grants are, many times, the only way smaller cities can compete.


Northern Kentucky Representative Says Pension Reform Will Take Compromise

Northern Kentucky Representative Says Pension Reform Will Take Compromise Representative Brian Linder says interest groups and stakeholders involved in the state's current pension debate may have to accept the end result may not make everyone happy; but, he says he hopes the final outcome is one everyone can live with.


Mayors Make Case to Lawmakers For More Flexibility With City Taxes

Mayors Make Case to Lawmakers For More Flexibility With City Taxes Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson and Sadieville Mayor Claude Christensen recently spoke to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government about the state's tax laws. Tax reform is expected to be on the agenda if the governor calls a special session later this year.


Representative says Kentucky's Pension System in Need of "Surgery"

Representative says Kentucky's Pension System in Need of Representative Steven Rudy, who chairs the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, spoke to the Kentucky League of Cities about tax and pension reform. The Paducah Republican warns fixing the state's pension system can't wait.