Kentucky’s GOP governor dares teachers to walk out after vetoing budget deal
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin

Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed a controversial budget deal approved last week by Republican lawmakers -- and he dared teachers to protest.

About 200 stunned and furious teachers shamed GOP lawmakers March 29 after they rushed through a pension reform bill, opening the way to an agreement on a two-year budget proposal and tax reform bill that Bevin will veto, reported the Courier-Journal.

The teachers union immediately criticized Bevin for vetoing the budget, which included hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for public education, and Bevin urged educators not to walk off the job in protest as their counterparts have in West Virginia and Oklahoma.

"It's illegal for them to strike in this state -- I would not advise that," Bevin said. "I think that would be a mistake."

The Jefferson County union urged teachers to take off Friday to travel to Frankfort to protest the vetoes, and officials warned educators not to use sick days for that purpose.

Teachers walked out April 2 to protest the bills Bevin vetoed, and the governor blamed the "very loud" statewide union.

Bevin must decide by midnight Tuesday whether he will veto the pension reform bill, which the Kentucky Education Association opposes because changes in retirement benefits could discourage teachers from starting careers in the state.

GOP leaders in the state legislature complained that Bevin decided to veto the bills they passed without consulting them, but instead consulted with "job creators" who were unhappy with the legislation.

"To our knowledge, the Governor has had no discussions with any legislators on the details of this budget and what he might consider to be a shortfall," said Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne (R-Prospect) in a joint statement. "We believe Governor Bevin would be best served to meet with legislators to understand their thoughts and rationale before making a final decision on vetoing the revenue and/or budget bills.”