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Kentucky lawmakers discuss upcoming emergency special session

Pre-filed bills in Frankfort.
Pre-filed bills in Frankfort.(WBKO)
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s back to Frankfort for state lawmakers as they try and decide how to best navigate and manage COVID-19. At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Kentucky General Assembly will meet to iron out how Kentucky will continue to deal with the pandemic.

As the virus continues to transform almost every aspect of people’s lives, both parties understand the need to evolve, but how Kentucky makes progress is up for debate.

“We need to make sure that our response to COVID is measured and it’s reasonable,” Rep. Jason Nemes (R-District 33) said. “A shutdown is not called for, and that will not happen.”

Nemes expects to see five bills come out of this session. He said lawmakers will focus on COVID-19 responses in areas like healthcare, cabinet policies and education.

“We do believe that kids need to be in person at school,” Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-District 44) said. “We think for most children, the best instruction comes, but we certainly want to keep kids and teachers and staff safe.”

Jenkins added she would like more power to be given to school districts to decide when and if a school needs to switch to Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) to reduce the number of cases of the coronavirus.

Some Kentucky Republicans agree with that possible solution for education.

“We want the local school boards to have the equipment and schools that they need to make the decisions for their appropriate for the particular area,” Nemes said.

Nemes and Jenkins said the goal is to reach across the aisle and work together to get concrete legislation passed quickly.

“We are a very divided country right now and that’s true also in Kentucky,” Nemes said. “I understand that Republicans have good ideas, and we have bad ideas. Democrats have good ideas, and they have bad ideas.”

When people should put on masks and when they shouldn’t could be a point of contention between the two parties.

In addition to the major areas of life that are affected by COVID, a focus will be placed on smaller issues that affect everyday life. This might include allowing people to renew some licenses without physically visiting a government office.

Right now, Kentucky lawmakers expect to be in session for five days.

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