On Friday evening, Bevin, a Tea Party darling attacked the teachers, telling reporters, "I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them".
The measure, sometimes referred to as a "rate-collar", will provide the pension relief government entities desperately needed in order to phase in, over a maximum of 10 years, the full increase in rates passed by the Kentucky Retirement System board last December.
He also "guaranteed" that a child ingested poison because their teachers were attending a protest and the child's parent wouldn't have enough money to take care of them.
Bevin said, that in some "communities", his fellow Kentuckians knew children would be home alone and "took advantage of it".
Lawmakers overturned vetoes on a revenue and tax measure that raises $487 million in new revenues to fund a budget which increases funding for public schools and restores funding for school bus transportation. They sat in lawn chairs and held up signs as they lounged on blankets while tunes like "Teach Your Children" blasted from nearby speakers.
"This is the example that we want to send to our children, really?"
Bevin says the budget is imbalanced and overestimates revenues in explaining his vetoes.
Kentucky's two-year 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.
The veto put Republican lawmakers in a tough position, asking them to vote a second time on a tax increase in an election year.
"You can stand here all day and act like you are all for [education] until it comes time to pay for it". The vote was 66 to 28 in the House with only four Democrats joining 62 Republicans and 26-12 in the Senate.
The state's protests are part of a political shift that has seen teachers organize grassroots campaigns to flex their political muscle in several states where years of budget cuts that began during the 2008 economic downturn left salaries stagnant and many public schools in disrepair.
It also seemed odd watching Democrats voting to support a Republican governor, one a lot of them strongly dislike. "This is coming from a governor when he can only get three or four Republicans to support his veto".
"House Bill 200 ensures we fully fund the Department of Veterans' Affairs, that we fully fund the Kentucky State Police, that we ensure the request for new cruisers and rifles for the Kentucky State Police is fully funded", said Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill. "And it's a tax shift from the wealthy and the corporations to those least able to pay", he said.
The veto of the accompanying revenue measure, known as House Bill 366, was overridden in the Senate 20-18 and in the House 57-40.
Bevin followed the debate closely, responding to lawmakers' speeches with tweets. The legislators pushed to stop the funding cuts after weeks of protests by teachers, who have been frustrated by a pension reform bill for public employees and the planned budget cuts to education. The demonstrations were inspired by West Virginia teachers, whose nine-day walkout after many years without raises led to a 5 percent pay hike.
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