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August 29, 2022 1:56pm

Kentucky General Assembly approves $212 million in flood relief funds

Kentucky lawmakers concluded their three-day special session on Friday after approving a $212 million bill to fund relief efforts for the Eastern Kentucky flood disaster in July. Governor Andy Beshear called lawmakers to Frankfort for the special session, which began lastWednesday, after weeks of conversations on a legislative package to address infrastructure needs for the counties impacted by the flooding.

House Bill 1, sponsored by Rep. John Blanton (R-Salyersville) was approved by the House unanimously and by the Senate on a 35-1 vote. It was quickly signed by the Governor and went into effect immediately.

HB 1 includes the following funding provisions:

  • $200 million from the Budget Reserve Trust Fund – the state’s $2.7 billion rainy day fund – to EKSAFE.
    • $115 million of that $200 million will be provided to the Department of Military Affairs Division of Emergency Management to provide financial support to cities, counties, school districts, state agencies and nonprofit or public utility service providers located in areas named in the Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster. The use of this portion includes reimbursement for services, personnel and equipment provided during the response and recovery phases; cost of replacement or repair of publicly owned buildings and their contents; and advancement of funds to local governments, utilities and school districts awaiting insurance claims and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance.
    • $45 million to be provided to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s highways budget for the state matching funds to pay for bridge and road repairs and replacement.
    • $40 million will be provided to the Department of Education for financial assistance to school districts to support repairs of school building facilities, additional transportation costs for displaced students and wrap-around services for schoolchildren and their families recovering from the impacts of the storms and flooding.
  • Nearly $12.7 million in fiscal year 2022-2023 from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is earmarked for EKSAFE. These funds will go toward water and sewer infrastructure projects, the building of replacement school facilities and housing sites not previously used, but now designed to mitigate the risk of future flooding.

With the conclusion of the Special Session, it is expected the General Assembly will revisit Eastern Kentucky flooding relief needs once they reconvene in January for the 2023 Regular Session.