Kentucky Lawmakers Override Governor Veto on Tax, Budget Bills

Interactive map: Which KY districts are closed Friday

Interactive map: Which KY districts are closed Friday

The House and Senate ultimately overturned those decisions, but Bevin said children across the state suffered after several school districts closed either to allow teachers to attend Friday's events or because enough teachers absences triggered closures.

As Kentucky teachers declare victory after the Republican-dominated legislature overrode vetoes from the state's GOP governor of a spending plan that included new money for education, the question going forward is whether teachers will be able to sustain their momentum into the fall elections when Republicans will try to defend their super majority. Finally, lawmakers overrode Bevin's veto of a bill which phases in increases in pension contributions by local governments and school districts.

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.

Republican Rep. Jeff Hoover told his colleagues not to trust Bevin, reminding them the governor promised to call a special session past year to change the state's struggling pension system, but never did. It's unclear if the House will act on the resolution.

Bevin vetoed the budget, which spends about $600 million more than his proposed spending plan.

As for why he vetoed the tax and budget bills, Bevin said: "They weren't looking out for the people that are paying for everything to the degree that I think they should have and could have".

Stephen Dupree, an elementary school teacher in Fayette County, described teachers' reactions to a budget they see as inadequate but one which they fear is better than any alternative Bevin might support. 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.

"The revenue and the budget bills really go hand in hand", said Rep. Michael Meredith.

The Senate later voted 26 to 12 to override the funding veto. Earlier this month, lawmakers voted to pass a bill that preserves benefits for most workers but moves new hires into a hybrid plan.

Sammi Hatfield teaches third grade in Montgomery County. "They think we are going to get exhausted and go home", she said.

The budget bill vetoed by Bevin increased the SEEK formula, the main funding source for public education, but teaching advocates argue that the increase doesn't account for inflation. But they also applauded Republicans who said they were voting to override the vetoes in order to fund education. "Because what they were doing then was impacting me and all my fellow teachers".

The budget would also issue 6.25 percent cuts to extended school services like after-school, summer school and pre-school programs.

"Teachers on Thursday night need to start calling in with that sewer flu so that (Pike County Schools Superintendent) Mr. Adkins can cancel school Friday and get us there", said Megan Smith, a teacher at Belfry Middle School, during the group's video announcement.

"There are protests and rallies going on all across this commonwealth".

The agendas from Kentucky arrived amid educator protests at Oklahoma and Arizona more than instruction funding and educator cover.

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