Big Fixes Hinge On Final Two Days Of General Assembly
The 2015 General Assembly may be on hiatus, but lawmakers still have plenty of homework to finish before returning to their respective chambers later this month.
When you ask Kentucky policymakers which issues warrant immediate attention, a handful will rise to the top – the state’s growing heroin problem, granting domestic violence protections to dating couples, saving the state’s dwindling gas tax revenues, and possibly propping up the cash-strapped Kentucky Teachers Retirement System.
But none of the proposed solutions have so far made their way to Governor Steve Beshear’s inbox.
Still, lawmakers remain optimistic about passing a heroin bill and addressing dating violence. On the latter issue, Sen. Whitney Westerfield told cn2 he’s not panicking yet.
"I don't think there's anything to be alarmed about... There’s plenty of support for it, and I’ve heard no indication that there’s any lack of support or if there’s any issue with the bill," he said.
Prospects are less rosy, however, for the gas tax and KTRS fixes. And House Speaker Greg Stumbo says time is running out to take advantage of a friendly bond market that could produce serious earnings for the teachers’ pension system.
"It needs to be addressed now," the speaker told reporters late Wednesday. "The window of opportunity to issue bonds and to shore up that system is going to grow narrower and narrower."
Right now it’s unclear whether Senate Republicans, who want to launch a nine-month study on KTRS options, would be open to a compromise on bonding.