By: Senator Robin L. Webb
for Carter County Times
FRANKFORT – On Tuesday, February 2, lawmakers will return to Frankfort and begin Part II of the 2021 Regular Session. In odd-numbered, non-budget years, sessions may not last more than 30 legislative days. However, like most things, a global pandemic has modified how we handle business as usual. Throughout February and March, members will pass a 1-year budget and discuss a wide range of policies and issues in the remaining 22 days.
After concluding Part I in early January, we are now eight days through the 2021 Session. The legislature passed seven bills in the first two weeks, with Governor Andy Beshear vetoing six of them. Many aimed directly at limiting the emergency powers of the executive. The Republican supermajorities in the Senate and House only need a majority vote in each chamber to override the vetoes once we return. If the legislature decides to override these vetoes, the bills immediately go into effect, pending legal challenges. For a full review of the legislation that will be sent back to the legislature, visit https:// apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/21rs/record.html.
As we proceed through the latter portion of the session, my hope is we can work across the aisle, in a bipartisan effort, on a budget that benefits all Kentuckians, both rural and urban. It is imperative we assist those who struggle, helping them navigate through the last leg of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also must prepare ourselves for a post-COVID-19 economy. Additionally, I plan to raise the matter of maintaining appropriations and continuing our commitment to broadband for our region and throughout east Kentucky. I will further address these issues with my colleagues when we are back in Frankfort.
I have some good news for the region. Gov. Beshear announced the Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Authority in Grayson was awarded Appalachian Regional Commission funds for a $2 million project. The plans are to construct a 65,000-square-foot metal building on a build-ready site. The location is at the EastPark Industrial Center, an industrial site created through an interlocal agreement between Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup, and Lawrence counties on a former strip mine.
The incoming company will use the site for warehousing and distribution. The project will create 150 jobs and encourage new investment and economic development in our region. In addition to the ARC funding, the Industrial Authority will also use $2.32 million in local funds for a total of $4.32 million for this phase of the project. The Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Authority also received $1.5 million from the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot program for another portion of the project. I am extremely excited to welcome this company and these jobs. Our highly skilled and highly trained workforce stands ready to hit the ground running.
Over the remaining 22 days, I will do my best to keep you updated and informed about what is happening in Frankfort throughout the 2021 Regular Session. For more information on the 2021 Session, including bills, committee calendars, or legislative news, visit http://www.legislature.ky.gov. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I remain accessible by email atRobin.Webb@LRC. KY.GOV. You can also leave a message for me on the Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181. Citizens with hearing impairments can use the Kentucky Relay Service at 711.