News Digest: March 13, 2013

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By The Staff

Pension plan appears

unsettled by legislature

With two days remaining in the 2013 General Assembly, the Democratic House and Republican Senate have yet to forge a compromise on how to fix Kentucky's ailing public pension system.

The chambers also are trying to resolve their differences on several other major bills, including a measure to allow more transparency of special taxing districts and a proposal to make it easier for Kentucky military members overseas to vote.
Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said late Monday that leaders in the two chambers were "very close" to reaching an agreement on overhauling the public pension system, The Herald-Leader reported.

"There's not a lot left to be resolved," he said, although he added that work on Senate bill 2 could have been done by Tuesday, when both bodies met into the evening.

The legislature is scheduled to meet March 25 and 26 to consider any vetoes by the governor. Lawmakers could take final action on bills those last two days but would give up their right to override any vetoes by Gov. Steve Beshear.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) said the Senate still refuses to acknowledge that finding a way to pay for pension reforms is critical.

"My speculation is that if we resolve the pension crisis it will be in the final days," Stumbo said. "If the Senate has an adequate and sustainable funding mechanism that they can pass, we could certainly move forward on it as quickly as we can. There's no other way to do it and be responsible about it."
Beshear and leaders of the House and Senate met Friday and Sunday to discuss public pensions. All said they hoped to avoid a special session, which could cost taxpayers more than $60,000 a day.
Kentucky's public pension system, which covers nearly 325,000 people, faces more than $30 billion in unfunded liabilities. It has only half the money needed to pay current and future retirees.
Meanwhile, the House and Senate agreed Monday to disagree on HB 1, the measure pushed by Auditor Adam Edelen to make special taxing districts more transparent.

The two chambers named members of a conference committee to work out their differences on HB 1. The Senate wants to give fiscal courts and councils veto power over taxes and fees imposed by special districts. The House does not.


Spring cleanup starts Saturday

Volunteers from across Kentucky are set to fill trash bags and pick up old tires during the 15th annual Commonwealth Cleanup Week, starting Saturday. Its purpose is to provide Kentucky communities with an opportunity to “spring clean,” recycle and promote personal responsibility across the state.

During the 2012 cleanup week, more than 28,000 Kentuckians picked up 65,392 bags of trash and 6,053 tires along 5,546 miles of roadway. In addition, these same volunteers cleaned 12 illegal dumps.
Nonprofit groups that register with their county’s solid waste coordinator and complete a Commonwealth Cleanup Week cleanup are eligible to win one of six $100 cash prizes in a random drawing to be held in May.
For more information, visit http://waste.ky.gov/RLA/Pages/CCW.aspxfor.


State income falls in February

The state's General Fund tax receipts fell 5.2 percent compared to February of last year. That's a decline of $29.6 million dollars, according to a news release from the state budget director's office. Total revenues for last month were $544.5 million compared to $574.1 million a year ago. That means receipts still have grown 2.4 percent for the first eight months of fiscal year 2013.
The decline last month was anticipated, state Budget Director Jane Driskell said. That's because the state Department of Revenue made a concerted effort to fulfill refund requests in a timely manner.
Estimates call for 2.4 percent revenue growth in fiscal year 2013. To meet that goal, receipts will have to grow 1.4 percent over the last four months of the fiscal year.


Parent academy for schools

The Shelby County Public Schools Parent Academy is offering a free workshop, “What can I do to prepare my child for kindergarten,” from 6 to 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Painted Stone Elementary’s library.

There will be hands-on activities and take-home materials. Childcare will be provided for preschool and older children. A registration form is available from a SCPS preschool teacher or by sending an E-mail to Saylor Aylmer at saylor.aylmer@shelby.kyschools.us. Kindergarten registration is from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. March 27 at the six elementary schools and again from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23.

At the registration, parents should bring their child for an assessment while they complete required paperwork. To enroll in Kindergarten, the child must be 5 years of age on or before Oct. 1 as verified by a state-certified birth certificate.

Shelby County Public Schools’ Kindergarten Program focuses on building learning skills in a climate that enhances each child and working closely with families to meet the academic and social needs.

Certain documents that are needed for registration include state-certified birth certificate, child’s social security card, current immunization records on Kentucky form, physical exam, eye exam, dental exam, proof of residence and student registration form.

Proof of current immunizations (vaccines) is required by the Kentucky State Department of Health is required to be presented at the time of registration. The registration process is not complete until all immunizations are current. 

Proof of residency is required at the time of new student registration. Proof of residence is the child’s home address verified with a copy of a current utility bill. Two proofs of residence are needed. A parent/guardian driver’s license will not be accepted.

Bus transportation is available for all students as well as breakfast and lunch.

Shelby County elementary schools operate on a regular schedule beginning Aug. 7. The regular school day is 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

If you have questions, contact 633-2375.


SCHS SBDM to meet

Shelby County High School’s School-Based Decision Making Council will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the conference room at the school’s office. This is a regular-called meeting.


Multi-Purpose board meeting

Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency’s board of directors will meet at 1:30 p.m. March 25 at the Spencer County Fiscal Court Room located in Taylorsville. The public is invited to attend. Multi-Purpose CAA provides services in Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer Counties.


Democrats set meeting

The Shelby County Democratic Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Stratton Center, 219 Washington St., Shelbyville. All Democrats are welcome.


I-64 lane closures possible

Lane closures and delays are possible on Interstate 64 from the Welcome Center to a half-mile east of KY 55 because of the roadway-widening project. Lane closures are scheduled Sunday through Friday from 7 each evening until 5 the following morning and on Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday. The eastbound exit to KY 55 South (Exit 32A) is closed for several months because of ramp construction. Motorists can use Exit 32B to access both KY 55 North and South. 


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.