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Kentucky lawmakers continue preparation for special session to provide aid to Eastern Kentucky

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Legislative leaders and the governor’s office are continuing to work on the scope of a special legislative session to assist parts of eastern Kentucky that were hit by record flooding in late July.

Following a meeting of the Legislative Research Commission this week, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester told reporters, “I think it’s going to be very similar to what we did during the regular session for western Kentucky.”

Lawmakers expect to be in session for three days when Gov. Andy Beshear sets the date. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today))

He said a draft plan has begun circulating, a copy of which came to his office, but he hasn’t gone through it yet.

Stivers said there will be some differences from the aid package approved by lawmakers during the regular session due to the December tornado outbreak in western Kentucky because, while there was a path of destruction from the tornadoes, entire counties were affected by the flood.

When asked if he had an estimate on what the aid package will cost the state, Stivers said it is too early to tell, adding, “This is all reimbursable. We’ll front the money and FEMA will reimburse a lot of those expenses.”

As for the timing of the special session, Stivers said, “It’s probably going to be in the next few weeks.”

House Speaker pro tem David Meade, R-Stanford, said, “We’ve been working on the legislation for a little while in the House as well. I would say by the end of next week, whenever the governor is ready to issue the call, we’ll be ready to go. We’re doing everything we can to be prepared.”

Stivers says the special session should last no more than three days.

Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, says everyone in both branches of government is working together to come up with an aid package.

“The governor’s office has gotten together with leadership in the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans,” McGarvey said. “A bill draft has been circulated, and we are keeping in touch with the governor’s office and leadership from both chambers, so that we have a finished product that can be brought in here and we can efficiently pass legislation that is going to help All the people devastated by the floods in eastern Kentucky.”

He added, “Time and again, we’ve shown that Kentuckians do a great job of coming together to help each other out. Our friends, our neighbors, our fellow Kentuckians need help right now, and we’re going to be there for them.”

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