Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

KY Governor claims "child was sexually assaulted" because of teacher protests

KY Governor claims

Bevin's comments came shortly after Republican lawmakers voted to override his vetoes of a two-year operating budget that included increased spending for public education with the help of an accompanying $480 million tax increase.

They did it with nearly no help from Democrats while thousands of teachers once again descended upon the capitol to call for more money for education and protest changes to their pension system. It includes a 6 percent sales tax on a variety of services, including auto and home repairs, to pay for higher classroom spending.

This comes after Gov. Matt Bevin offered sharp criticism of the tax law, saying it was a "sloppy, non-transparent bill" before its passage. He said he met with House and Senate leaders all week to propose a more "responsible way to pay for 100 percent of the requested education funding".

The veto put Republican lawmakers in a tough position, asking them to vote a second time on a tax increase in an election year. The Senate voted 20-18 and the House voted 57-40 Friday to override that veto.

"We have to get this revenue to finance schools", explained a Republican and middle school special education teacher, consultant Regina Huff.

Democrats sided with the governor, but for different reasons. They're grateful the tax hike will benefit students in their classrooms, but they're saying this is just a small victory in a bigger war. They wanted the vetoes to stand, forcing the governor to call a special session of the state legislature to pass a new budget. In a dramatic moment, Senate President Robert Stivers cast the decisive vote for the override.

The House and Senate did override the governor's vetoes late Friday afternoon for House Bill 366 and House Bill 362.

Mr. Bevin adopted the argument closely, reacting on Twitter to law-makers' addresses.

The unrest comes amid teacher protests in Oklahoma and Arizona over low funding and teacher pay. The demonstrations were motivated.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts on Thursday, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates in November.

Friday's teacher rally did result in the closure of at least 30 Kentucky school districts, including Erlanger-Elsemere Schools and Bellevue Independent Schools. But they also applauded Republicans who said they were voting to override the vetoes in order to fund education.

John Chilton, Bevin's budget director, said he understands lawmakers have new bills to raise revenue and govern spending and could introduce them soon.

The votes exposed again the rift between Bevin and former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and perhaps a growing rift with other Republican lawmakers. The pension bill passed by the Kentucky legislature moves new hires onto a hybrid pension plan and would not protect them from future changes to the system.

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