Second week of legislative session focused on West KY tornado relief
Western KY Tornado Relief
House Bill 5, sponsored by Rep. Richard Heath of Graves County, establishes the West Kentucky State Aid for Emergencies (SAFE) fund and allocates $200 million to help those affected by last month’s tornadoes. Eligibility to receive financial support from the fund is limited to counties, cities, nonprofit or public utility providers, state agencies and school districts that were impacted by the storms.
$45 million of the fund has been earmarked:
- $30 million to the Kentucky Department of Education for school districts that have been impacted
- $15 million to the Department of Military Affairs, Division of Emergency Management, to be used for procuring temporary FEMA-eligible housing units.
The fund may be used for the advancement of monies to counties and cities experiencing strained revenues while awaiting reimbursement from federal emergency management assistance or insurance claims. You can read more details here.
At the Governor’s request, the House and Senate also passed legislation extending many of his executive orders related to the West Kentucky disaster response. The orders extended in House Joint Resolution 29 included continued use of the Kentucky National Guard to assist with additional security and cleanup and continuing the state of emergency to retain federal assistance.
Savings for County Jail Budgets
Legislation was filed in both the House and Senate that would have a great cost-saving impact on counties jail budgets. SB 81, sponsored by Sen. Phillip Wheeler (R- Pike County), would provide that the state pays a fee to counties for lodging prisoners charged with a felony beginning on the date the prisoner is delivered to the jail and ending the day the prison is acquitted of the felony charges, or has judgment rendered otherwise involving no felony.
House Bill 211, sponsored by House Local Government Chairman Michael Meredith (R- Warren) provides that the state per diem paid to county jails include additional fees that may be applicable under KRS 532.100(7) and reimbursement for the amount of time an inmate serves in a jail facility when the inmate is convicted of a felony.
Governor Beshear addressed a joint meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly for the second week Thursday night, this time to unveil more specific budget allocations.
The budget includes significant funding increases for counties and county programs, including investments in a water and wastewater grant program and broadband expansion.
In addition, the Governor’s budget proposes to return 100% of state coal severance tax revenues back to coal-producing counties, increases pay for Court Security Officers, invests in County Attorney, PVA, Commonwealth’s Attorney and County Clerk offices and increases the stipend that local and state law enforcement officers and local firefighters receive from the Kentucky Law Enforcement and Firefighters Foundation Program.
Click here for a detailed budget analysis.
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