Governor Steve Beshear Wednesday reversed a decision by Kentucky State Police to start offering the written drivers license test only in English. Kentucky had previously offered the test in 22 different languages.
KSP officials say to grade the old tests given in foreign languages, answer keys provided by translators had to be used, and the costs really added up. But even in these times of severe budget cuts, the governor couldn't justify an English only test.
Jay Blanton, a spokesman for the state's chief executive, tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "The governor just learned about this Tuesday night, and when he did, he believed it was simply the wrong thing to do, a mistake as a matter of policy. This is a big government with 32,000 employees and a 9 billion dollar annual budget so we're going to make some mistakes, and the thing to do then is to quickly act to correct them and move on."
To do otherwise, according to the governor, would put a black mark on the state's well earned reputation for fairness. Blanton says, "Kentucky has a long standing tradition of being a very welcoming state. We're seeking foreign investment in our state. We want people to come here from other countries to do business, and Gov. Beshear doesn't want to detract from that."
Since budgetary concerns were cited as the reason for offering the test only in English, Blanton was asked if there's been any consideration now of raising fees for those people who want to take the test in a foreign language. "No, we'll work with the Kentucky State Police and the Justice Cabinet to determine what those budgetary concerns are and try to help them work through that, and that's something we've been doing throughout so it's a balancing act, and this is just one of those times when the balance went the wrong way a little bit, and we've moved in to correct that."
Governor Beshear though says he still has complete confidence in the leadership of KSP and that no employees do their jobs better than the state's police officers.