FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear and state legislative leaders capped off the first day of the special session by outlining their flood relief plan in a public briefing Wednesday.
"To the people of eastern Kentucky, I think today the legislative branch sent the same message that I've been trying to send," Beshear said. "'We're with you today, we'll be with you tomorrow, next week, and next year. No matter how long it takes.'"
The $212.7 million flood relief plan is intended to serve as a stop-gap measure until the General Assembly reconvenes for next year's session, according to Beshear and Republican lawmakers.
"We are looking at short-term objectives," said Senate President Robert Stivers.
The plan mirrors the package shepherded through the General Assembly after the tornadoes in western Kentucky last December.
It would dedicate $200 million from the Rainy Day Fund to establish the Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (EKSAFE).
$115 million of that $200 million would be provided to the Department of Military Affairs Division of Emergency Management. The money would be dispensed to cities, counties, school districts, and other public entities. Another $45 million in the fund would go to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for road and bridge repairs.
The plan would also provide $40 million for financial assistance to school districts impacted by the flooding. The commissioner of the Department of Education would also have flexibility to waive up to 15 student attendance days through Jan. 20, 2023.
"Moving from an emergency to a stabilization phase in and of itself is significant," Beshear said. "But the rebuilding here is going to be one of the most complicated we have ever seen in this country."