Gov. Beshear gives Team Kentucky Update on May 11
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - On May 11, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was joined by Dr. Steven Stack as they attended the Team Kentucky Update.
The update informed Kentuckians of the passing of Virginia Moore and to provide updates on public health; early voting; economic development; April 2023 general fund receipts; a counterdrug program; further support for law enforcement; rebuilding efforts in Eastern and Western Kentucky; National Police Week; and the 31st annual Letter Carriers Food Drive. He also named three Kentucky students selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Virginia Moore Tribute
Gov. Beshear started the update by honoring Virginia Moore, the executive director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who passed away on May 6. Moore led a national effort to ensure American Sign Language was included at every public press conference, which sparked a wider effort across the United States.
Dr. Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, updated Kentuckians on changes to data, testing, vaccines and treatment as the national public health emergency for COVID-19 ends today. Hospital data will only be reported weekly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disease transmission map and community level maps will no longer be published and national COVID-19 immunization data will no longer be complete because states will no longer be required to report it.
Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines will remain available via pharmacies, health departments and medical offices. Testing will also change as insurance companies will no longer be required to provide eight free monthly tests per person. Antigen tests will still be available in stores. The most-used oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19, Paxlovid, will still be available at pharmacies. These medications and vaccines will be treated by insurance companies like other prescriptions and vaccines.
Upcoming Election and Early Voting
Gov. Beshear reminded Kentuckians that the primary election will take place Tuesday, May 16, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. From Thursday, May 11, to Saturday, May 13, Kentucky voters can take advantage of in-person, no-excuse voting at local designated areas. Kentuckians should check with their county clerk’s office or visit govoteky.com for locations and times to vote in their area.
The Governor highlighted continued growth in Kentucky’s vast manufacturing sector as Big Rapids Products plans to extend its Montgomery County presence with a $4.5M expansion that will create 44 additional full-time jobs.
April 2023 General Fund Receipts
Gov. Beshear announced that the Office of State Budget Director reports that April’s General Fund receipts were the second highest ever. The Governor said the receipts were slightly lower than last April due to the reduction in the individual income tax rate he signed into law this year. Collections for April were more than $1.7B, a 4.5% growth in the first ten months of fiscal year 2023.
Counterdrug Program Helps Save Lives
The Governor joined representatives of Kentucky’s Counterdrug Program to praise them for supporting the seizure of 142 pounds of fentanyl over seven months that could have caused almost certain death for more than 28.9M people. The Governor then moved to continue the team’s work of disrupting the supply of illicit drugs in the commonwealth by signing the fiscal year 2024 State Drug Interdiction and Counterdrug Activities Plan.
HB 155 Signing
To further support law enforcement, Gov. Beshear ceremonially signed House Bill 115, sponsored by Rep. Bill Wesley of Ravenna, which adds the definition of “electronic detection dog” and “police dog” and adds them to the statute for assault on a service animal which is a Class D felony.
EKY and WKY Update
In early March, a storm hit Kentucky, causing several deaths and widespread property damage. The Governor announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 40 Kentucky counties as disaster areas due to damage caused by the storm. The USDA also named 35 contiguous counties where eligible family farmers may qualify for emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency. Loan applications are for severe physical losses only and will be accepted through December 28 this year. More about the loan applications can be found on the USDA’s Farm Service Agency website.
Gov. Beshear announced that his initial request for federal aid to assist with recovery efforts in 22 Kentucky counties adversely affected by severe storms February 15 through February 20 has been approved by President Joe Biden.
The Governor said that nine households are still being sheltered through the Commonwealth Sheltering Program in Western Kentucky. Currently, five travel trailers are occupied at commercial locations, while four trailers remain at a private site. So far, 114 households have transitioned out of the program.
Gov. Beshear provided an update on recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky. Currently, 114 families are housed in travel trailers, and Kentucky State Parks are now housing 14 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1, 2022. Nearly 270 households have transitioned out of the Commonwealth Sheltering Program in Eastern Kentucky.
FEMA has approved more than $106.2M in Individual Assistance grants. Since May 9, two more applicants have received the max grant of $37,900, bringing the total Housing Assistance max grants to $26.9M for 715 survivors.
FEMA announced the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management will be reimbursed by FEMA for $16M spent by the state in response efforts to protect the immediate health and safety of impacted citizens. The commonwealth will not be required to match the federal award with state funds.
If you need help, please call FEMA directly or visit a Multi-Agency Resource Center. MARC locations can be found at governor.ky.gov/Flood-Resources.
The Governor announced that the state has hired a program management team to manage the planning and development of residential communities in Eastern Kentucky. The team includes HA Spalding Engineers, based in Hazard, and Bell Engineering, with offices in Lexington, Somerset and Hopkinsville. The companies will:
- Execute the design, engineering and construction process for items such as roads, bridges, utilities, sidewalks, streetlights, and neighborhood layouts.
- Coordinate with the commonwealth, Team East Kentucky Relief Fund, the Kentucky Housing Corporation and our non-profit home builders to begin home construction.
National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day
The Governor encouraged Kentuckians to join him next week for National Police Week to honor the commonwealth’s law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and the nearly 8,000 officers who continue to serve and create a safer Kentucky for future generations.
Gov. Beshear will be directing flags at all state office buildings to be lowered to half-staff on Monday, May 15, in observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day. He also said that the commonwealth is preparing to add the names of seven law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2022 to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial at the annual ceremony May 25.
Letter Carriers Food Drive Day and Proclamation
The Governor proclaimed May 13 as Letter Carriers Food Drive Day in Kentucky and encouraged Kentuckians to participate in the country’s largest one-day food drive. Kentuckians can participate in the 31st annual Letter Carriers Food Drive by leaving a bag of nonperishable food next to their mailbox for postal workers to collect.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Gov. Beshear named the three Kentucky students who were designated as U.S. Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. Scholars are selected based on academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as a commitment to community service and leadership. The three Kentucky students that were selected are:
- Cecelia Ann Rogers from Nelson County High School
- Beatriz Oliveira Antunes from South Warren High School
- Arnav Dharmagadda from Russell High School
“You all made Kentucky very proud! I know this is just the beginning of the great things we will be seeing from you,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am happy to name you as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.”
Copyright 2023 KFVS. All rights reserved.