Governor signs into law bills that support nursing education, student loan oversight, newborn screenings, health care and voting accessibility; vetoes unconstitutional charter schools bill
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 7, 2022) – Today Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on economic development, new legislation, COVID-19, the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast and the Easter celebration at the State Capitol. He also named Kentucky State Police (KSP) Cadet Class 101 as Team Kentucky All-Stars.
New Jobs and Investment
Over the past week, Gov. Beshear announced 212 new Kentucky jobs and $100 million in private investment in the commonwealth.
“As many of you know, last year we shattered every economic development record in the books and the progress continues,” Gov. Beshear said. “We continue to see wonderful opportunities with new companies picking us for the biggest investments in their history, and employers already in Kentucky showing confidence that they can do so much more.”
F&E Aircraft Maintenance LLC (FEAM AERO), a provider of aircraft maintenance and engineering services, will locate a new three-bay hangar at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, creating nearly 250 full-time positions, including at least 124 Kentucky-resident jobs, with a $40.2 million investment.
“The hangar helps us build economy of scale, builds our staff base and allows us to invest in additional capabilities to benefit our customers,” FEAM COO Wayne Sisson said. “Any man or woman who has any interest in aviation, we invite you to become part of a phenomenal industry and the FEAM team.”
The Governor shared news of the Bardstown Bourbon Co.’s distillery expansion in Nelson County, a $28.7 million investment that will create 29 full-time jobs and increase the operation’s annual capacity by approximately 55,000 barrels.
G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. will invest $8.9 million toward a new facility in Maysville, creating approximately 73 jobs, with at least 45 of those positions allocated to Kentuckians.
Augusta Distillery LLC’s new operation in Bracken County, a $23 million investment, will create 14 quality jobs for Kentucky residents.
Governor Signs Bills Into Law
Joined by lawmakers, Gov. Beshear signed five pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly. The bills will become law on their effective date.
House Bill 564 ensures that Kentucky’s expansion of voting options continues. Last year, while other states were restricting voting, Kentucky expanded it by adding early voting days. This bill requires that early, in-person voting is available for at least eight hours between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to an election.
“This ensures the early days are real. With normal hours where people can vote,” Gov. Beshear said.
This bill won bipartisan support in the General Assembly, is supported by the State Board of Elections and continues the work from last session – when Kentucky was one of few states working to expand access to voting – to make it easier for Kentuckians to vote. The Governor thanked Secretary of State Michael Adams for being a good, bipartisan partner in these efforts.
Rep. Josh Branscum said: “Kentuckians are very fortunate to have safe and secure elections. While there is still work to be done, we have taken great strides to ensure they are conducted in a safe, secure and honest manner. This is due to the diligence of our election officials across the commonwealth and the passage of legislation such as House Bill 564 by the General Assembly. We will never stop in continuing to build upon the work that we have done over the past few years, as we advance towards our goal of becoming a leading in election integrity and security.”
Senate Bill 10 helps colleges and universities that face barriers to expanding their nursing programs. This bill addresses key issues in Kentucky’s nursing pipeline and aims to eliminate some of the barriers nurses face when practicing or attempting to practice in Kentucky.
Sen. Robby Mills said: “It is important that Kentucky has quality nursing care that will meet our future needs. SB10 is a big step forward in ensuring that our commonwealth’s health care systems have the nurses to meet our citizens health needs now and in the future.”
Senate Bill 105, or Bella Dawn Streeval’s Law, will help newborns, children and families by increasing awareness and screenings for the cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that can cause childhood deafness and other health challenges. Unfortunately, most CMV infections are not diagnosed without newborn screening, resulting in missed opportunities for needed care. Bella Dawn Streeval passed away two years ago today after suffering from CMV.
Bella Dawn’s mom, Sarah Streeval, said: “Two years ago today, I held my baby girl for the last time as she struggled to take her last breath. I held my breath waiting to see if there would be another. My world ended two years ago today, but little did I know that there would be new doors that would open. Bella’s Law unfortunately doesn’t change anything for our sweet Bella, but it just may be that her spirit will be living on inside of other little ones who are affected by this law. Bella Dawn truly is changing the world.”
Sen. Max Wise said: “I cannot thank the entire Streeval family enough, as well as all of the families from across the commonwealth who have collectively advocated and helped make this legislation and bill signing in honor of Bella Dawn possible. Today shows what persistence, collective efforts and compromise can do to put legislation into law. Bella’s Law will be able to provide infant screenings and educational information to expectant mothers and families in an effort to raise CMV awareness across the commonwealth. I also want to thank the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Sarah Roof with KY Hands & Voices, as well as Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon for their hard work and collaboration. While I never got to personally meet Bella, her imprint and legacy on this earth will live on forever with this law, and I could not be prouder.”
Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Virginia Moore said: “The fight came from the families. I think we all have that in us. We can make change, it happens and it’s so important. CMV is something that we need to educate all doctors about and I think with this bill we can do that.”
House Bill 494 provides regulatory oversight of the student education loan servicing industry in Kentucky for the first time. Student education loan servicing has become a significant issue, with billions of dollars in outstanding debt nationwide. About 600,000 Kentuckians have outstanding federal student loans. This legislation empowers the Department of Financial Institutions, or DFI, with the tools to protect consumers here before harm occurs. Under this bill’s provisions, DFI will be able to address unlicensed activity and prohibit deceptive acts and practices. It also provides for enhanced penalties for any violations involving the military, public servants and older borrowers.
Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon said: “For many Kentuckians, attending a college or university is only possible by receiving a student loan. However, repayment of the loan can be a burden once the individual completes their education in Kentucky. There is currently over $19 billion in outstanding student loan debt with over 600,000 Kentuckians owing student debt. This bill will allow Kentucky to have the regulatory authority over these loan companies to ensure they comply with statute and treat borrowers fairly.”
Rep. Patti Minter said: “I’m proud to be a cosponsor of House Bill 494, which incorporates ideas I first introduced as part of the Student Loan Borrowers Bill of Rights – long-overdue ideas such as requiring careful oversight of student loan processors and cracking down on predatory practices. While there is more work to be done to make paying for a college education as safe, affordable and transparent as possible, this bipartisan bill is an important milestone in our work to protect each and every borrower.”
House Bill 525 codifies an existing program administered by the Department for Medicaid Services, which requires Medicaid reimbursement for certain services provided by certified community health workers (CHW). It also establishes a formal CHW certification program and requires the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program to reimburse for certain services provided by CHWs.
Rep. Kim Moser said: “Having health insurance, whether Medicaid or private coverage, doesn’t always equate to getting preventative care or care for chronic disease management, sending people to the emergency room, lengthy hospital stays and even premature death. HB 525 will provide a network of Community Health Workers, a system of navigation helping people access health care and improving health outcomes across the state.”
Gov. Beshear Vetoes Unconstitutional House Bill 9
Gov. Beshear vetoed House Bill 9, which he said is unconstitutional. The bill would send taxpayer dollars to charter schools that have boards that are not elected by or answerable to the people, and that are not required to comply with the same controls and accountability measures as traditional public schools.
“My administration has always been an education-first administration. I am a proud Kentucky public school graduate,” Gov. Beshear said. “My teachers helped prepare me for this job and this world. I owe them so much. So I deeply and personally believe that we should be investing in our public schools and our educators. The answer to concerns about the performance of public schools is to help them and fund them – not to bleed them out.”
Click here to read the Governor’s veto message on House Bill 9.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said the state’s COVID-19 community level map is the best it has ever been, with 114 green/low incidence rate counties, six yellow/medium incidence rate counties and zero red/high incidence rate counties.
Dr. Stack said state leaders will stay vigilant in our monitoring the omicron BA.2 variant, but regardless of any new variant, Kentuckians know what they need to do to best protect themselves from COVID-19:
- Keep up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots; and
- Follow the community level map at kycovid19.ky.gov and adjust behaviors accordingly.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for older people and certain immunocompromised individuals:
- Anyone 50 or older is eligible for a second Pfizer or Moderna booster four months after their most recent dose; and
- People 12 and older for Pfizer, and 18 and older for Moderna, with substantial immunocompromising medical conditions are also eligible for a second booster four months after their most recent dose. This determination is between a healthcare professional and a patient.
“Everyone should get your first booster. For the second booster, I recommend you consult your health care professional to help make your decision,” Dr. Stack said.
There is now only one authorized monoclonal antibody in most of the country – bebtelovimab. The state currently has enough to meet demand in Kentucky.
Two oral antivirals, molnupiravir and paxlovid are now available at many Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Kroger pharmacies. Physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants can prescribe these to eligible patients.
Gov. Beshear Invites Kentuckians to Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, Easter Celebration
On April 13 at 7:30 a.m. EDT, Gov. Beshear will host his first Governor’s Prayer Breakfast on the State Capitol’s South Lawn. State leaders from all three branches of government will join religious leaders to recognize Kentuckians living their faith through service to others. The Ukrainian Pentecostal Church of Lexington choir will perform and Oscar Tshiebwe, University of Kentucky men’s basketball player, SEC Player of the Year and National Player of the Year, will deliver the keynote speech. A limited number of tables are still available for purchase in advance at $200 each; please call 859-338-0072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Individual tickets will be sold at the door if space allows.
On April 16, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. EDT, the Governor will host a prayer service and Easter egg hunt for Kentucky families on the State Capitol Terrace. This event is free to attend.
“After such a difficult two years, these celebrations are going to mean even more, and I can’t wait to enjoy them with my family and with so many other Kentucky families,” Gov. Beshear said.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Today Gov, Beshear recognized KSP Cadet Class 101 as Team Kentucky All Stars, after their graduation from the agency’s basic training academy March 25. With 71 cadets, Cadet Class 101 was the largest KSP basic training academy graduating class since 2014.
“These 71 men and women completed 24 weeks of some of the most intense training they will probably ever receive, all so they can respond to emergencies and provide assistance when their fellow Kentuckians are facing some of the darkest days of their lives,” Gov. Beshear said. “No matter the emergency facing the commonwealth, KSP shows up, all while continuing to answer countless calls for service to assist Kentuckians who are afraid and in danger. Let’s all commit to these 71 cadets that as one state – working together – we will be their keepers and show them support and gratitude for their service to our great commonwealth.”