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Governor Beshear calls Kentucky General Assembly into special session

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 3:05 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear is calling the Kentucky General Assembly into a special session as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge across the Commonwealth.

The governor made the announcement Saturday afternoon and said the session will begin Tuesday at 10 a.m.

“Now is the time to act,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “This is one of the most dangerous times we’ve experienced this entire pandemic, with the delta variant burning through Kentucky and taking more of our loved ones and neighbors. It’s also overwhelming more and more of our hospitals and shutting down our schools.”

Gov. Beshear says he and his staff have discussed this with legislative leaders after the aftermath of the state supreme court decision involving the governor’s executive powers. He says lawmakers have been open to conversations.

In his briefing, the governor said he is asking for Kentucky lawmakers to extend a state of emergency until Jan. 15, 2022. He also hopes to tackle issues that include mask mandates, federal relief funds, and executive and cabinet orders.

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WKYT Politcal Editor Bill Bryant explained the goal is to come to that consensus in about five days, as the session will cost taxpayers around $65,000 per day.

“There’s a lot of issues being debated in the upcoming special session, so it is likely there will be some back and forth and discourse. How quickly can they work through that and get something done and get out of town?”

WKYT also reached out to lawmakers in response to the governor’s call for a special session. We did hear back from House Speaker David Osborne who said in a statement, “We have been engaged in conversations with the Governor about the call for the potential session.”

Further stating: “While we are not yet in agreement regarding the specific language of the legislation we will consider, we are continuing discussions and have agreed it is in the best interests of our commonwealth to move forward with the call. The proposals provided to the administration are the culmination of 18 months of research, discussion, and input from groups and individuals directly engaged in responding to this pandemic. Members of the House remain committed to acting on behalf of their constituents in an effective and efficient manner.”

Call for more NTI days:

A Rowan County teacher is urging lawmakers to address the expansion of NTI days for school districts. During the regular session earlier this year, Kentucky lawmakers capped NTI days at 10 per district. At the time, educators were hopeful that would be enough.

“Our teachers want to teach,” Allison Slone said. “Whatever method, whatever way they can do it, they want to make sure that the learning process continues for our students.”

The governor said Thursday there should be flexibility for individual schools when it comes to NTI.

Slone is also on the Kentucky Board of Education. She told WKYT she hopes lawmakers focus on NTI days and leave the KBE’s mask mandate alone.

By the numbers:

More than 7,840 Kentuckians have died from COVID-19 during the last 18 months, and 69 in the last two days.

Hospitals across the state are at capacity levels not seen before. More than 2,300 Kentuckians are in the hospital with COVID-19, 662 are in intensive care, and 425 are on ventilators.

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