Governor Andy Beshear and the leaders of Kentucky’s legislature have agreed to the agenda for a special session on helping eastern Kentucky recover from the flooding disaster, and Beshear has called the special session.
In contrast to the sometimes rocky relationship Beshear had with the legislature during this year’s General Assembly, he stated yesterday that “Eastern Kentucky was devastated by the historic flooding that took the lives of 39 Kentuckians and caused thousands of our families to lose everything. Since the storm hit, I’ve been speaking with legislative leaders about the need for a special session. We’ve had productive conversations – not bipartisan, but nonpartisan.” He went on to say “Together, we can provide the support and relief Eastern Kentucky needs.”
The governor’s call for the session is based on legislation that he and the legislative leaders have been working on since the flooding happened. As reported by the Courier-Journal, the legislation does the following:
- “Establishes, appropriates fund to, and provides for the administration of the Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (EKSAFE) fund;”
- “Amends the statute relating to the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (WKSAFE) fund, in particular by extending the date of the fund through June 30, 2026;”
- “Provides relief to Eastern Kentucky school districts impacted by the flooding emergency, in particular by relaxing requirements relating to the number of student attendance days, leave for teachers, and remote instruction, and provides relief to Western and Eastern Kentucky school districts impacted by the tornado and flooding emergencies by setting forth new requirements relating to average daily attendance for SEEK funding.”
One thing to note: standard rules for the legislature say that it must take at least five days to pass a bill, from filing to vote to enrollment. But, the legislature can vote to override those rules. Senator Damon Thayer, the Republican floor leader in the Senate, says that is probably what will happen today when the two chambers gavel in at 3 PM.
“We want to keep it to Eastern Kentucky – get in, get out, and get this money shipped down to Eastern Kentucky as quickly as we can,” said Thayer.
Their plan is to introduce identical bills in the House and the Senate, pass them in each chamber, then merge them into the one bill.
You can watch the special session live on KET.
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