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Kentucky lawmakers pass pension bill aimed at new teachers

March 17, 2021 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Legislation to change retirement benefits for new teachers hired starting next year won final passage from Kentucky lawmakers Tuesday night.

Supporters said the measure would relieve some pressure on the state’s troubled public pension plan for teachers without solving its massive unfunded liability. Opponents said the pension changes would become a deterrent in recruiting people into teaching.

The House voted 63-34 to send the bill to Gov. Andy Beshear.

The bill would not affect teachers already enrolled in the retirement system.

Instead, the bill calls for new Kentucky teachers hired starting in 2022 to be placed into a new “hybrid” pension tier blending defined benefit and contribution components. It would mean that teachers hired starting next January would contribute more toward their retirement benefits.

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The Republican-led legislature faced a Tuesday deadline to send the bill to the Democratic governor and preserve the opportunity to override a potential veto. Lawmakers start an extended break Wednesday before returning for a two-day wrap-up session at the end of March.

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The legislation is House Bill 258.