Major Changes to Kentucky Retirement Systems Proposed

On October 18, 2017, Governor Bevin released a 505 page bill intended to address and reduce the presently unfunded liabilities within the Kentucky retirement systems. Should it become law, this bill would make substantial changes to the Kentucky Employee Retirement Systems (“KERS”) and County Employee Retirement Systems (“CERS”). The corresponding retirement health care, disability, and death benefits of the aforementioned plans would also be impacted. While the bill is still under review by experts and legislators to comprehend the entirety of the proposed changes, the 505 page document will substantially impact all Kentucky retirement plans.
One section of the bill has targeted the issue of “pension spiking.” Pension spiking, or salary spiking, occurs when employees use their uniform and equipment allowances, compensatory time, and sick leave to increase their salary just prior to retirement. This causes a “spike” or inflation of the employee’s compensation just prior to retirement, which in turn increases the employee’s retirement benefits. As this has become common practice in many Kentucky retirement systems, this new bill could seriously impact such practices.

Another section within the bill addresses the ability of an employer to voluntarily cease participation in KERS or CERS. In order to be eligible to do so, an employer must be able to meet certain requirements, such as paying for an actuarial study on the cost of discontinuing participation in such system. Following such actuarial study, the employer would pay a lump sum to the system representing the full actuarial cost of the benefits accrued by its current and former employees, as determined separately by the pension fund and the insurance fund.

The sections discussed above are just two (2) of hundreds of changes that the bill proposes. Accordingly, this bill and its proposed changes will continue to be major topic of conversation throughout the Commonwealth in the coming weeks. It is unknown yet when the Kentucky Legislature will convene to review and vote on the bill. However, in preparation of such, public entities currently enrolled in these affected plans should begin investigating how this new bill could impact them. For any questions or concerns regarding these changes, please contact our offices.


Kentucky Driver’s Licenses are not Homeland Security Compliant

In December of 2016, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that, beginning January 2018, it will begin its REAL ID program in airports throughout the country. This program will prevent travelers from using non-compliant state-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses as means of identification to proceed through security check points. The REAL ID act was passed by Congress in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses.

The REAL ID’s must include the following information, along with specific security features that are intended to prevent fraud, counterfeiting, and tampering.

• Full legal name
• Signature
• Date of birth
• Gender
• Unique identifying number
• Principal residence address
• Front-facing photograph of the applicant

Such requirements are a significant upgrade from previous federal standards for identification documents. These specific security measures are to be designed to present machine-readable data from multiple sources on the ID to ensure maximum security.

The implementation program by the TSA has taken place in four (4) phases, beginning with prohibiting use of such IDs in restricted areas and ending with prohibiting all non-compliant IDs from boarding federally regulated aircrafts. With the last three (3) phases occurring over the previous 3-4 years, 2018 has been designated to begin the air travel phase of the program. This phased roll-out of the program was intended to encourage states to upgrade their licenses security measures to become compliant with the federal standards. However, with some states resisting a full ID makeover, the TSA has given travelers a list of alternative compliant forms of identification as seen below.

• U.S. passport
• U.S. passport card
• DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
• U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
• Permanent resident card
• Border crossing card
• DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
• Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
• HSPD-12 PIV card
• Foreign government-issued passport
• Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs              Canada card
• Transportation worker identification credential
• U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization        Card (I-766)
• U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

Kentucky driver’s licenses are currently non-compliant with the REAL ID security specifications. Kentucky was granted an extension for REAL ID enforcement until October 10, 2018, allowing federal agencies to accept Kentucky driver’s licenses until that time. However, given this major change in the identification security protocols, Kentucky travelers may want to get their passports updated before heading into the new year.


New Law in Kentucky Regarding Identification for Deeds Effective June 28, 2017

There is a new law in Kentucky, effective June 28, 2017 which provides for the “full name” for individual and for businesses on a deed.  For an individual, they need to present an unexpired Kentucky operator’s license and the name on the license will be the name on the deed.  For a business, the name will need to match the articles of incorporation for a corporation and the articles of organization for an LLC. The easiest way to comply with this new law is to provide the closing agent a copy of the driver’s license prior to closing.  The closing agent can obtain the business name from the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. Any questions or for any of your real estate needs, please contact Cathy Stavros.


Appeals Court Says NKY Agency Whistleblowing Policy Broke State Law

The Court of Appeals issued an Opinion that public agencies cannot require their employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of accepting employment with the public agency.  If the Supreme Court declines to hear further appeal, this Opinion will be binding and set the law for the entire Commonwealth.  Ziegler and Schneider attorney, Shane Sidebottom, wrote the brief and argued the case before the Court.


Ziegler and Schneider Attorney, Shane Sidebottom, Successfully Settles Lawsuit on Behalf of His Client in a County Employment Dispute

Ziegler and Schneider attorney, Shane Sidebottom, successfully settles lawsuit on behalf of his client in a county employment dispute.