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Teachers striking in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Teachers across 26 counties in Kentucky called out sick today forcing jurisdictions to close schools after lawmakers passed a pension bill that prevents state employees from adding accumulated unused sick days to their retirement plans as well as reducing the return on investment on hybrid savings accounts with the state.

Why it matters: The sickout in Kentucky continues a nationwide trend of teachers stepping out of the classroom to fight for improved benefits and salary in their states.

What they're saying: Teachers say the bill came as a surprise to them with very little time to review the bill. Jeni Bolander, a teacher and a member of the Kentucky 120 United group, said that teachers could easily accept the pension plan. However, she said, the plan is harmful to prospective teachers and won't help attract educators to the state.

We're not willing to sacrifice people going into the profession.
— Jeni Bolander

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said he'd be filing suit to stop the bill from becoming law. Beshear said there was no public comment and no fiscal analysis.

The other side

Governor Matt Bevin supported the bill, but he has yet to sign it.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Why you'll hear about this again: Schools around Kentucky closed on Friday with teachers calling out sick and it's unclear when they'll return to the classroom. Most schools in the state go on spring break after Easter.

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.