Read

Search form

Kentucky Lawmakers Override Budget Veto in Win for Teachers

Kentucky Lawmakers Override Budget Veto in Win for Teachers
Mon, 4/16/2018 - by Bruce Schreiner and Adam Beam
This article originally appeared on Associated Press

With the chants of hundreds of teachers ringing in their ears, Kentucky lawmakers voted Friday to override the Republican governor's veto of a two-year state budget that increases public education spending with the help of a more than $480 million tax increase.

The votes came as thousands of teachers rallied inside and outside the Capitol, forcing more than 30 school districts to close as Kentucky continued the chorus of teacher protests across the country. The rally took on a festival-like atmosphere in Kentucky as some teachers sat in lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets. Crosby Stills, Nash and Young's hit "Teach Your Children" bellowed from the loud speakers.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin noticed the teachers, too. He told reporters he saw them hanging out with their shoes off, smoking and "leaving trash around." He bemoaned the "hundreds of thousands of children" he says were likely left home alone because schools were closed and some parents likely did not have time to find child care.

"I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," Bevin said, according to a video posted to Twitter by a reporter for WDRB-TV. "I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them. I'm offended by the idea that people so cavalierly and so flippantly disregarded what's truly best for children."

A spokesman for the Kentucky Education Association declined to comment on Bevin's remarks.

Stephanie Ikanovic, who has been a teacher for 21 years, said earlier in the day she did not want to be out of her classroom, but said she felt compelled to come to Frankfort to advocate for her students.

"I want to be in my classroom instructing future citizens, but I'm afraid that spending at the state level is getting worse and worse, and we need those dollars for a 21st century education," she said.

The two-year state operating budget includes record new spending for public education, fueled by a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 6 percent sales tax on some services including home and auto repair. But Bevin vetoed both the budget and the money in it, calling the bills "sloppy" and "non-transparent." He said they would not raise enough money to cover the new spending.

The veto put Republican lawmakers in a tough position, asking them to vote a second time on a tax increase in an election year. But 57 House Republicans, later joined by just enough Senate Republicans, voted to override, asserting their independence after a tumultuous year marred by a sexual harassment scandal.

"You can stand here all day and act like you are all for (education) until it comes time to pay for it. Well, that's a coward," said Republican Rep. Regina Huff, a middle school special education teacher. "We have to have this revenue to fund our schools."

Democrats sided with the governor, but for different reasons. They said the tax increase disproportionately harms the poor while benefiting the wealthy. They wanted the vetoes to stand, forcing the governor to call a special session of the state legislature to pass a new budget.

The House voted 57-40 to override the veto of the tax increase and 66-28 to override the veto of the budget. Later, without a vote to spare, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 20-18 to override the tax increase veto. In a dramatic moment, Senate President Robert Stivers cast the decisive vote for the override.

The Senate later voted 26-12 to override the budget veto.

The unrest comes amid teacher protests in Oklahoma and Arizona over low funding and teacher pay. The demonstrations were inspired by West Virginia teachers, whose nine-day walkout after many years without raises led to a 5 percent pay hike.

In Arizona, after weeks of teacher protests and walkout threats across the state, Gov. Doug Ducey promised a net 20 percent raise by 2020.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts Thursday, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates in November. Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation raising teacher salaries by about $6,100 and providing millions in new education funding, but many say schools need more money.

Kentucky teachers haven't asked for a raise. They are instead focused on education funding and a battle over their pensions. Kentucky has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the country, with the state at least $41 billion short of what it needs to pay retirement benefits over the next 30 years. Earlier this month, lawmakers voted to pass a bill that preserves benefits for most workers but moves new hires into a hybrid plan.

Opponents worry this will discourage young people from becoming teachers. The pension changes have already drawn a court challenge.

Originally published by Associated Press

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Iceland democracy, digital revolution, Icelandic Constitution, bank bailouts, Pirate Party

Icelanders to their credit have twice peacefully ousted governments, they are world leaders in transparency laws and digital freedom, and they decided not to bail out its failed banks.

169

This week, a big step forward in the fight against Monsanto and glyphosate... and water protectors Red Fawn Fallis and Michael Little Feather Giron

Roadmap to Public Banking, Public Banking Institute. © 2013 Christine Walker

To succeed, the public banking movement needs to be more than a good idea. We need supporters to number in the tens of thousands – for if there is not unyielding public demand, there will be no public bank.

U.K. Trump protests, Donald Trump, Theresa May, Brexit, E.U.-U.S. relations, Trump hatred, inflatable Trump baby

"We know he’s a vain and self-absorbed man and to know that 250,000 people want to descend on central London and demonstrate against him will give him pause for thought," said one demonstrator.

Fearless Cities, municipalist radicalism, urban power, radical democracy, Spanish municipalism, xenophobia, migrants welcome,

Looking at the growing municipalist movement on display at Fearless Cities, it's useful to think of it as a network movement, where every city is looking to build autonomy locally while thinking globally.

Iceland democracy, digital revolution, Icelandic Constitution, bank bailouts, Pirate Party

Icelanders to their credit have twice peacefully ousted governments, they are world leaders in transparency laws and digital freedom, and they decided not to bail out its failed banks.

rising U.S. poverty, rising rents, wealth inequality, income inequality, childhood poverty

By any rational definition of poverty, half of our country's households are dealing with it.

169

This week, a big step forward in the fight against Monsanto and glyphosate... and water protectors Red Fawn Fallis and Michael Little Feather Giron

Instead of disrespecting the achievements of other countries, the U.S. needs to learn from them.

Public school teachers and their supporters protest against a pension reform bill at the Kentucky State Capitol April 2, 2018 in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

"Most people (including policymakers) still have no idea that skimming fees off public employees' retirement savings has become one of the largest sources of profits for Wall Street moguls."

Iceland democracy, digital revolution, Icelandic Constitution, bank bailouts, Pirate Party

Icelanders to their credit have twice peacefully ousted governments, they are world leaders in transparency laws and digital freedom, and they decided not to bail out its failed banks.

Posted 1 day 3 hours ago
Roadmap to Public Banking, Public Banking Institute. © 2013 Christine Walker

To succeed, the public banking movement needs to be more than a good idea. We need supporters to number in the tens of thousands – for if there is not unyielding public demand, there will be no public bank.

Posted 3 days 4 hours ago
U.K. Trump protests, Donald Trump, Theresa May, Brexit, E.U.-U.S. relations, Trump hatred, inflatable Trump baby

"We know he’s a vain and self-absorbed man and to know that 250,000 people want to descend on central London and demonstrate against him will give him pause for thought," said one demonstrator.

Posted 4 days 4 hours ago
169

This week, a big step forward in the fight against Monsanto and glyphosate... and water protectors Red Fawn Fallis and Michael Little Feather Giron

Posted 2 days 4 hours ago
Public school teachers and their supporters protest against a pension reform bill at the Kentucky State Capitol April 2, 2018 in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

"Most people (including policymakers) still have no idea that skimming fees off public employees' retirement savings has become one of the largest sources of profits for Wall Street moguls."

Posted 3 days 1 hour ago
rising U.S. poverty, rising rents, wealth inequality, income inequality, childhood poverty

By any rational definition of poverty, half of our country's households are dealing with it.

169

This week, a big step forward in the fight against Monsanto and glyphosate... and water protectors Red Fawn Fallis and Michael Little Feather Giron

Instead of disrespecting the achievements of other countries, the U.S. needs to learn from them.

Public school teachers and their supporters protest against a pension reform bill at the Kentucky State Capitol April 2, 2018 in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

"Most people (including policymakers) still have no idea that skimming fees off public employees' retirement savings has become one of the largest sources of profits for Wall Street moguls."

Roadmap to Public Banking, Public Banking Institute. © 2013 Christine Walker

To succeed, the public banking movement needs to be more than a good idea. We need supporters to number in the tens of thousands – for if there is not unyielding public demand, there will be no public bank.