KPERS discussions continue

Conference committee discussions continued Wednesday on KPERS working after retirement issues with little progress made as the Legislature neared first adjournment, which is scheduled for this Friday but may come sooner.

Members of the House and Senate Financial Institutions and Pensions committees met for a second time to review differences between HB 2268, H Sub for SB 21 and SB 138, which address KPERS working after retirement provisions. Education leaders and others have requested the legislature simplify the law in order to help them fill positions, particularly in rural areas of the state.

Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, the lead Senate negotiator, offered to accept the House positions on Regents retirees; independent contractors and those working for a third party; and death benefits for police and firefighters.

Rep. Jim Kelly, R-Independence, the lead House negotiator, accepted those items from the Senate offer but raised continuing concerns about legislative retiree compensation and the treatment of substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and other low-paid employees, and other issues. Kelly suggested some items be deferred until after the Legislature reconvenes on May 1.

Longbine declined to commit to Kelly’s proposal to delay; committee members agreed to continue discussions, although it was unclear Wednesday morning if that would be before or after the April legislative break.

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