Gov. Beshear provides Team Kentucky Update on May 25

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a Team Kentucky Update on May 25.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a Team Kentucky Update on May 25.(Governor Andy Beshear Facebook)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 3:31 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a Team Kentucky Update on May 25.

Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on memorials to honor law enforcement officers; economic development growth; grants to clean up brownfields; public safety; the decline in overdose deaths; the General Assembly’s inaction that will cause a gas tax increase; cancer awareness efforts; and recovery efforts in Eastern Kentucky. He also named Erica Kegley, the Kentucky winner of the Doodle for Google contest, as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star.

Honoring Law Enforcement Officers

Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman attended events to honor and remember Kentucky peace officers lost in the line of duty. On May 24, Lt. Gov. Coleman joined the Kentucky State Police at their academy in Frankfort to recognize 37 law enforcement officers for the agency’s annual memorial ceremony. On May 25, Gov. Beshear joined law enforcement officers and their families in Richmond to honor seven fallen heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2022.

The Governor also honored Caleb Conley, a decorated deputy of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, who was killed during a traffic stop on May 22.

Economic Development Growth

Gov. Beshear shared economic development news and discussed companies investing in the commonwealth.

Gov. Beshear highlighted Kentucky’s continued economic success as Site Selection magazine placed the commonwealth at No. 1 in the South Central region of its newly released 2023 Prosperity Cup rankings, moving up two spots from last year’s third place position. Kentucky also placed in the top five nationally after ranking sixth in 2022.

On May 24 at the Kentucky Truck Plant, Gov. Beshear joined Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, Ford President and CEO Jim Farley and United Auto Workers leaders and employees to celebrate the arrival of the 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty®.

The Governor highlighted continued growth in the state’s manufacturing sector as Halton, a leading manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation and air distribution systems, announced a $7.4M expansion of the company’s facility in Allen County, creating 60 full-time Kentucky jobs.

The Governor highlighted continued growth of the Kentucky Product Development Initiative, as projects in Barren, Fayette, Green, Hickman, Jackson, Jessamine, LaRue, McCreary, Todd, Wayne and Woodford counties moved through the program’s initial round. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved 11 projects today for over $6.8M in state funding in addition to local support.

Grants to Clean Up Brownfields

Today, the Governor and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced that 10 Kentucky communities and agencies have been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to receive over $7.9M in grant funding to assess and clean up “brownfields” – industrial and commercial properties that are known or suspected to contain contaminants.

Public Safety

Gov. Beshear said that Kentucky State Police Troopers of Post 11 made a large drug bust in Laurel County during a traffic stop Sunday, and large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin were seized, along with drug paraphernalia. Trooper Trey Lovins obtained a search warrant and was assisted on the scene by several other troopers and members of the London Police Department and the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.

Kentucky Sees Decline in Overdose Deaths

The Governor announced that Kentucky is one of the few states seeing a decline in overdose deaths nationwide. A recent article from the Associated Press noted that Kentucky is one of eight states that saw a sizeable overdose death decrease last year, while the nation saw an uptick in deaths. The article notes that the decrease in overdose deaths is due to intentional work to address addiction and offer more treatment services.

General Assembly Inaction on Gas Tax

In June 2022, Gov. Beshear signed an emergency regulation to prevent the Kentucky state gas tax from increasing. Under Kentucky law, when the average wholesale price of gas goes up a certain amount, the gas tax will increase as well. Without the Governor’s action, the law would have increased what Kentuckians were paying at the pump by 2 cents per gallon starting July 1, 2022. The emergency regulation was estimated to help Kentuckians save up to $35.4M through January 2023.

House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Derrick Graham filed House Bill 89, which included language to maintain the tax rate freeze through fiscal year 2024. Although the Governor urged the General Assembly to keep the gas tax freeze in place, the bill failed to pass. As a result, beginning July 1, the gas tax rate will increase another 2.1 cents per gallon in the commonwealth.

The Governor stated that, given Kentucky had the best General Fund collections in state history, it wouldn’t have been an issue for those dollars to be used to make up for any loss to the Road Fund. In fact, Kentucky is on track to meet the updated General Fund revenue estimate for fiscal year 2023, which would result in a budget surplus of about $1.5B.

Brain Cancer Proclamation

Gov. Beshear signed and presented three proclamations that recognize advocates working to find a cure for childhood brain cancer. The Governor first recognized May 17 as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, Awareness Day in the commonwealth. To honor David Turner Jr., who died from DIPG, Gov. Beshear also declared May 21 as David Turner Jr. Ice Cream Day in Kentucky. The Governor then signed a proclamation recognizing May as Brain Tumor Awareness Month.

Eastern Kentucky Flood, February/March Severe Weather Update

The Governor provided an update on recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky. Currently, 106 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. Over 270 households have transitioned out of the Commonwealth Sheltering Program in Eastern Kentucky.

FEMA has approved more than $106.5M in Individual Assistance grants. Since May 18, three more applicants have received the max grant of $37,900, bringing the total Housing Assistance max grants to $27.3M for 721 survivors.

Gov. Beshear also updated Kentuckians on the severe weather that occurred in February and March. Houses of worship impacted during the severe weather event from Feb. 15-20 located in one of the 22 declared counties can apply for FEMA public assistance by the June 8 deadline. Houses of worship impacted during the March 3-4 storms that are in one of the 12 counties added to the disaster declaration can apply by the June 18 deadline.

Team Kentucky All-Star

The Governor recognized Augusta Independent High School student Erica Kegley, whose art was recently chosen as the Kentucky winner of the Doodle for Google contest, and named her this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star.

Kegley’s art, titled “Mother and Daughter Relationships,” was inspired by her relationship with her own mother and depicts mother-daughter relationships throughout cultures and through animals and humans. You can click here to see Kegley’s art. Gov. Beshear also encouraged Kentuckians to support Kegley by voting for her art.

“Erica, Team Kentucky is so proud of you. Thank you for representing our state well,” said Gov. Beshear. “I hope everyone will join me in supporting Erica and Augusta Independent by casting their votes today for the national competition.”