Kentucky teachers protested a surprise overhaul of their pensions. Now a judge overturned Governor Matt Bevin’s pension law.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd struck down Kentucky’s controversial new public pension law Wednesday and permanently enjoined Gov. Matt Bevin from implementing it.

In a 34-page ruling, the judge said the Republican-led General Assembly violated the Kentucky Constitution when it passed a surprise pension bill only six hours after introducing the legislation.

The legislature violated Section 46 of the Constitution in two ways, Shepherd ruled. First, it failed to give the bill three readings on three separate days in each chamber, as the Constitution requires, he ruled.

Lawmakers approved the pension bill on the 57th day of this year’s 60-day legislative session by gutting a bill dealing with sewer systems and replaced it with the pension language, but Shepherd said that action meant the five previous readings the bill had received were no longer valid.

Second, he said the bill appropriates money, and therefore needed the support of a majority of all members in the House to pass. The bill was approved with only 49 votes, which is two shy of a constitutional majority in the 100-member chamber.

Because the bill was enacted improperly, Shepherd said he did not consider whether the law violates the state’s “inviolable contract” with teachers and other public workers.