Bevin: Teachers left children vulnerable

Teachers from across Kentucky gather inside the state Capitol to rally for increased funding and to protest changes to their state funded pension system on Friday

In an eventful day at the capitol marked by throngs of protestors and scores of media coverage, the Kentucky House and Senate both voted to override Gov. Bevin's vetoes of the tax bill (HB 366), budget bill (HB 200) and HB 362 in Frankfort on Friday.

After thousands of teachers traveled to Frankfort on Friday to protest, Gov. Matt Bevin said that somewhere in Kentucky children were sexually assaulted or ingested poison because they were left unattended.

Governor Bevin's office had warned Kentucky lawmakers earlier on Friday that they risked a poorly balanced state budget due to mistakes made in the hurriedly passed tax code overhaul on April 2, which Bevin vetoed this week.

Kentucky's House and Senate have overridden two of Governor Matt Bevin's vetoes.

"We kind of hate that some of the solutions as far as the taxing on other things is going to hurt a lot of people, including us", said Lewis. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's hit "Teach Your Children" bellowed from loud speakers before speeches began.

"Finally after years of no new revenue coming to this state, they did generate some new revenue, said Kelley Ross, a teacher at Barren County High School".

Bevin said he is "offended" by the striking teachers who "cavalierly" and "flippantly disregarded what's best for children".

"I don't want to be out of my classroom".

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 fix.

"All I've got to say is, I listened to this governor a year ago for months, upon months, upon months say he would call a special session to deal with the pension issue and tax reform".




Bevin vetoed both bills because he said the new taxes won't generate enough money to cover the new spending.

In the Senate, Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said HB 366 will generate almost a half of billion dollars in additional money for the state over the next two fiscal years.

But the vote was closer in the Senate which secured the minimum number necessary - overriding the tax and revenue bill veto 20-18.

"You can stand here all day and act like you are all for (education) until it comes time to pay for it". Our prevention training efforts have reached more than 3,000 Kentuckians.

The Senate later voted 26 to 12 to override the funding veto.

"The disgusting comments by Gov. Bevin insinuating that a peaceful protest by teachers would lead to sexual assault are reprehensible", Wise tweeted.

It also seemed odd watching Democrats voting to support a Republican governor, one majority strongly dislike.

"We have to get this revenue to finance schools", explained a Republican and middle school special education teacher, consultant Regina Huff. They said the tax increase disproportionately harms the poor while benefiting the wealthy.

While the Kentucky teachers have not demanded pay raises, the protests were inspired by the statewide strikes in West Virginia last month that pushed the legislature to give a five percent salary increase.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts on Thursday, shifting their focus to electing proeducation candidates in November. Brandon Smith called on lawmakers to override Bevin's veto of the budget to keep the governor from calling lawmakers back for a special legislative session. They are instead focused on education funding and a battle over their pensions.

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