Gov. Beshear discusses proposed budget, gives COVID-19 update
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear gave a Team Kentucky update on Thursday, January 13.
During his briefing, the governor signed legislation supporting Western Kentucky tornado relief and gave a final preview of the Commonwealth’s game-changing investment opportunities ahead of his budget address at 7 p.m.
Governor Beshear was joined by other Western Kentucky lawmakers when he signed House Bill 5.
“It was my first priority during this session to get aid to Kentuckians impacted by the deadly tornadoes, and while more will be needed, today I am proud to sign this bill,” Gov. Beshear said. “I want every family and community touched by these storms to know that we are with you, all of Kentucky is with you – today, tomorrow and however long it takes until we rebuild every structure, every life.”
He discussed his final budget priorities, including endorsing a 6 percent pay increase for state employees.
Kentucky State Police troopers, sworn officers and telecommunicators, will also receive a raise.
The governor’s budget also funds body cameras for state police for the first time ever.
The governor is also supporting the state prosecutor network to help enhance victim services, including the implementation of Marsy’s Law, as well as address case backlogs and additional workload due to recent legislative changes.
He said he’s funding efforts to retain correctional officers, juvenile justice youth workers and social workers.
The governor’s budget also adds 350 social workers to help address staffing shortages and reduce the average caseload by nearly 25 percent.
To attract and retain more social workers, the governor is funding a loan forgiveness program to provide a maximum $3,000 a year for each year of employment as a social service worker with the Department for Community Based Services.
Cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky
According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, 2,813,659 people have received at least one vaccine dose.
They said 936,060 people have received a booster vaccination in the state.
As of Jan. 12, KDPH reports 11,232 new cases of the virus and 21 additional deaths.
The positivity rate is 27.39 percent.
Currently, 2,011 Kentuckians are in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 454 are in the ICU and 243 are on ventilators.
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