After hours of recess for caucus meetings, and after a meeting with Governor Bevin, the Republican leaders of the Kentucky House and Senate moved late Tuesday night to end the special session without passing any pension legislation.
The original bills introduced on Monday had been similar to bills passed in the last General Assembly, but with certain sections removed in hopes of avoiding lawsuits. During the day on Tuesday, it became apparent that some Republicans wanted to put that language back in, and move closer to the larger bills from the last session.
In a speech from the floor, Speaker David Osborne said that dealing with the pensions was both important and complex, and that there simply wasn’t time in a special session to hammer out the differences among his own caucus, much less across the entire body.
Governor Bevin said when calling the special session that the urgency was because of the possibility of Kentucky’s bond rating being downgraded due to the Kentucky Supreme Court decision throwing out last session’s pension bill. Now that the special session has adjourned without taking action, it remains to be seen if that downgrading actually happens.
Speaker Osborne said that dealing with the pension situation would be a top priority in the regular General Assembly session starting in January. However, since it is a “short” session, any bill dealing with the budget or finances requires 60 votes in the House, which may make it harder to pass pension-related bills.