Special session likely to be called for Ky. lawmakers to discuss plans for American Rescue Plan money

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:48 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers have gone home, and this year’s legislative session is over.

Among the bills passed in the final hours, a spending plan that uses $750 million of the $2.5 billion Kentucky allotment in the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress.

Lawmakers inserted the spending language into an amendment of House Bill 382. It earmarks $500 million to pay off unemployment insurance debts.

Without that, Kentucky businesses and employers would have had to raise insurance taxes to pay off the loan Kentucky had to acquire to shore up the trust found last year.

“Honestly, we would have to pay them back through employer assessments,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill. “That’s a very good thing for Kentucky employers.”

$140 million will be used to ensure all-day kindergarten for every Kentucky school. Senator Reggie Thomas is thrilled lawmakers have finally been able to approve full-day kindergarten for every Kentucky school.

“That $140 million will be appropriated,” said Sen. Thomas, D-Lexington. “We need that here in this state.”

Another $50 million will be used for broadband access for rural areas in the state.

The House also approved $250 million for improvements to drinking water systems and the Senate for various construction projects.

Lawmakers say approving the spending of the money was a good way of showing how both sides can work together for the common good. How the rest of the American Rescue Plan money will be spent will likely have to be decided in a special session later this year.

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