Pension bill passed by end of state legislative session

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Nicole Ziege

As the state legislative session ended on Thursday, a higher education pension bill passed the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives and was sent to Governor Matt Bevin’s desk for his signature. 

House Bill 358 is intended to help address the cost of the Kentucky Employee Retirement System and provide retirement system options to higher education institutions and their employees. The bill also declares an emergency regarding the potential drastic financial increase Kentucky’s public universities face with their employer contribution costs.

KERS is one of two state retirement systems WKU currently participates in, the second being the Teachers Retirement System.

The Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives did not reach an agreement on the bill before the 10-day veto period. A conference committee was appointed on Thursday to work out the differences between the two Chambers, and the final version of HB358 with Free Conference Committee Report (FCCR) was passed. 

President Timothy Caboni addressed the approval of the bill in an email to faculty and staff on Thursday.

“As you know, we have advocated this session for pension reform that provides both security for our employees and stability and predictability in our budgeting process,” Caboni said in his email.

“HB358 FCCR gives us choices, and how we proceed as a university depends on the results of an actuarial study that will be done to determine WKU’s unfunded liability. Once this study is complete, we will decide if exiting KERS is an appropriate financial option.”

The approved bill will go into effect July 1, 2020.

News reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.