Kentucky House overrides veto of school funding bill

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Kentucky lawmakers on Friday overrode Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of tax and budget bills that boost spending on public education with the help of additional tax revenue, in a victory for teachers.

The votes came as tens and thousands of teachers rallied forcing more than thirty school districts to close as the nation lasted the chorus of educator protests all over the nation.

Anita Holbrook, a retired teacher, was at the rally. He doesn't feel the teachers are setting a good example for our children.

The governor began his remarks by attacking students for "hanging out", "smoking", and "leaving trash" during the walkout.

They did it with nearly no help from Democrats while thousands of teachers once again descended upon the capitol to call for more money for education and protest changes to their pension system.

Bevin, a Republican, responded by saying, "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". He spoke of children ingesting poison or being physically assaulted because they were home and "a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them".

"I'm offended by the fact that people so cavalierly, and so flippantly, disregarded what's truly best for children", he said.

Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler said she was "appalled" by the governor's comments, according to NBC5.

The Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the teachers' union which had previously organized a one-day march earlier this month, estimated that several thousand teachers were at the capital Frankfort on Friday.

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"I was disgusted is the only way I know how to put it", said Lydia Coffey, a retired teacher.

Hoover said the override was necessary to fund the budget which restored cuts to public education and the override votes also demonstrate legislative independence.

Bevin had vetoed both bills, warning the new taxes would not generate enough money to cover the new spending.

That prompted Bevin to take a shot at Hoover on social media shortly after the House voted 57-40 to override the veto of the tax and revenue bill.

"You can stand here all day and act like you are all for (education) until it comes time to pay for it. Well, that's a coward", said Republican Rep. Regina Huff, a middle school special education teacher.

He acknowledged Bevin's promise to call a special session to enact a better budget if lawmakers sustained his vetoes but then reminded colleagues Bevin promised to call a special session on pension reform. His veto was overturned by lawmakers.

The Senate later voted 26 to 12 to override the funding veto. The House voted 94-2 to override while the Senate voted 34-4.

A senator who didn't vote to override the veto of HB 200 was Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville.

The long-brewing demonstrations followed protests by educators in Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia, who were frustrated about low pay and deep cuts to school funding.