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Chris McDaniel: Update on abbreviated second week for 2022 General Assembly; a look at bills to come

After the first week of the 2022 Regular Session extended the weekend, allowing for passage of time-sensitive legislation, the second week was an abbreviated one — only four days — ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We wrapped up the session late Thursday, providing a four-day weekend for our Western Kentucky delegation, who are eager to be home as the rebuilding of communities continues.

In our second week of work, vital legislation was passed on disaster relief for western Kentucky. Members of the Western Kentucky delegation championed Senate Bill (SB) 5—which ultimately passed as House Bill (HB) 5—and all other members of the Senate signed on as co-sponsors in a showing of unity.

Sen. Chris McDaniel

HB 5 provides western Kentucky communities devastated by the recent tornadoes with $200 million in general aid. The Western Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (SAFE) fund will immediately allocate $45 million, with $15 million of the funds going specifically to long-term but temporary housing for displaced families. The remaining $30 million will assist with education needs, bringing a sense of normalcy and much-needed stability to children’s lives through providing transportation to students displaced outside of their home school district, counseling, tutoring, and after-school programs.

Concerning the recovery of Western Kentucky, the General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution (HJR) 29, which extended the state of emergency declaration for the impacted region. Lawmakers contend the Governor did not need an extension by the legislature to continue that state of emergency. During the 2021 Regular Session, legislation passed that instituted much-needed checks and balances on the executive branch clearly outlined the types of emergency declarations that required lawmakers’ approval to be extended beyond 30 days. We believe that this would not apply to ongoing emergencies faced by the residents of Western Kentucky. Still, out of an abundance of caution, we passed HJR 29 as yet another showing of the legislature’s commitment to the region.

Also, I want to inform you that I have introduced and passed through committee Senate Bill 48, which would recoup the $15 million for the taxpayers of Kentucky. The bill would require Unity Aluminum — formerly known as Braidy Industries — to return the money after they utterly failed to meet their obligations to this Commonwealth. My ideal scenario would be for the organization to simply step up and say, ‘We didn’t get the job done’ and return the taxpayer’s money. It’s a tragedy on every level that the people of Eastern Kentucky have not been given the aluminum mill they were promised. I don’t want $15 million back, I want an aluminum mill, but if the Commonwealth is not going to see any return on the investment made with taxpayer dollars, SB 48 will make sure those dollars are recouped.

You can learn more about these bills and others by visiting www.legislature.ky.gov. Thank you for staying engaged in the legislative process. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort.

Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) represents the 23rd District which comprises Northern Kenton County.

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