Gov. Beshear provides Team Kentucky update

Governor supports federal gas tax holiday; signs four bills passed by General Assembly

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/PRESS RELEASE) – On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on steps he is taking to support federal gas tax relief, new laws passed by the General Assembly, student-athletes, eviction, sales tax relief and the state’s ongoing tornado response efforts.

Federal Gas Tax Holiday
This week, Gov. Beshear joined other Governors to send a letter to leaders in Washington to let them know he supports federal legislation to address rising gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax until the end of the year. As Congress looks to relieve Americans of the financial stress caused by increased gas prices amid international crises and rising inflation, it is clear that legislative action is needed, the Governor said.

According to the American Automobile Association, the national average gas price in the United States is $4.17, up more than $1 from 2021. The Gas Prices Relief Act, as introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, would alleviate the consumer cost of rising gas prices while protecting the federal government’s capacity to make infrastructure investments. The legislation would help Kentuckians save at the pump, which translates into dollars back in consumers’ pockets for groceries, child care, rent and more. And the legislation ensures the Highway Trust Fund stays solvent.

“We know it is possible to invest in infrastructure while also providing immediate relief in times of temporary – but still great – difficulty,” Gov. Beshear said. “At a time when people are directly impacted by rising prices on everyday goods, a federal gas tax holiday is a tool to reduce costs for our Kentucky families.”

This is only the latest step the Governor is taking to help provide relief to families. He recently signed an executive order to stop vehicle property taxes from increasing for the next two years.

“Kentuckians should not have to pay more because the impacts of COVID have caused used vehicle prices to soar,” Gov. Beshear said.

The Governor is also working with Rep. Angie Hatton of Whitesburg to propose temporarily lowering the state sales tax rate from 6% to 5% over the next fiscal year. This would help provide families needed relief from higher prices by providing approximately $1.2 billion in tax relief.

Governor Signs Bill into Law
Thursday, Gov. Beshear signed four pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly.

House Bill 6, primarily sponsored by Rep. Sal Santoro of Union, codifies the Governor’s executive order signed Feb. 16, that provides vehicle property tax relief for Kentuckians by holding the tax rate at the 2021 level. Those who already paid their 2022 taxes will be issued a refund.

Senate Bill 30, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Storm of London, allows those renewing motor vehicle registrations to make a monthly donation to the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk’s Trust for Life and express their willingness to be an organ donor.

Senate Bill 38, co-sponsored by Sens. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville and Denise Harper Angel of Louisville, defines Class A and B felony incest as a violent offense, which requires offenders to serve longer sentences for committing this heinous crime.

Senate Bill 96, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson of Bowling Green, adds the Bowling Green police chief to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council.

Joined by state lawmakers, university leaders, coaches and student-athletes yesterday, Gov. Beshear signed legislation that allows student-athletes in Kentucky to receive fair compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness.

In June of last year, after consulting with lawmakers and universities, Gov. Beshear was the first governor to sign an executive order immediately allowing students to receive such compensation after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA and its rules limiting educational benefits for college players as part of their scholarships. Senate Bill 6 codifies the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-418 in state law. To learn more, see the full release.

$38.7 Million More in Eviction, Utility Relief to Help Families in Lexington, Louisville
Gov. Beshear announced that he has directed an additional $38.7 million to Lexington and Louisville to provide assistance with rent and utilities to more Kentuckians financially harmed by the pandemic. Using federal funds from the commonwealth’s program, this week the Governor presented Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton with a check for $11.7 million and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer with a check for $27 million to aid the cities’ programs. The Governor said the federal funding formula gave Lexington and Louisville, which have their own eviction relief programs, fewer funds than anticipated. In June 2021, the Governor granted each mayor’s request to allocate additional funds to keep their local programs going. To read the full release click here.

Governor to Visit Western Kentucky Friday
Gov. Beshear said he will present Cleaner Water Program and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet funding to Crittenden, Graves and Livingston counties on Friday. He will also give keys to new travel trailers to women who lost their homes in the Dec. 10 tornado. The Commonwealth Sheltering Program is providing the travel trailers.

As of today, 138 individuals from 36 households now occupy 37 travel trailers from the program.

Impacted families at Kentucky State Parks are now transitioning into medium-term housing, such as travel trailers and cottages, so they can be closer to their communities and schools. Sheltered guests’ homes that experienced no visible damage, minor damage or were not within the impacted tornado zone are transitioning back to their homes. Currently, 116 displaced sheltered guests are being temporarily housed at Kentucky State Parks. Sheltered guests are being housed in 11 lodge rooms, 28 cottages and 7 travel trailers.

The Governor said the state recently launched a registration site for survivors to indicate their needs, and 218 survivors have already completed the form. For others in need, visit governor.ky.gov/tornadoresources to register.

The Governor reminded storm victims that the deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Monday, March 14. To apply for FEMA assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

Governor Warns Kentuckians of Severe Weather this Weekend
The Governor said more severe weather is expected this weekend. Rain is forecast for Central and East-Central Kentucky tomorrow night and right behind the rain will come a strong cold front that is going to cause temperatures to plummet rapidly and turn the rain to snow. Three to 6 inches of snow are possible Friday night and Saturday morning. Higher snow accumulations are likely east of Interstate Highway 65, with the heaviest snow near and east of Interstate Highway 75. Very cold temperatures are likely following the snow. The winter storm watch is for portions of Central and East-Central Kentucky, and a winter weather advisory may be needed in additional Kentucky counties. The Governor encouraged Kentucky families to take time to prepare and stay warm and safe.

Governor Sends Condolences to Shepherdsville Police Department After K-9 Killed
The Governor shared his condolences with the Shepherdsville Police Department after one of its K-9 officers, Dash, was shot and killed in the line of duty. Officer Dash, a Belgian Malinois, was assisting Lebanon Junction Police in the pursuit of a shoplifting suspect when the suspect fired on officers, striking and killing Dash.

“Dash was a beloved member of the police force doing exactly what he was trained to do. Our hearts go out to his handler and all the colleagues he leaves behind,” Gov. Beshear said.

Team Kentucky All-Star
Gov. Beshear recognized Rhyne Howard as a Team Kentucky All-Star. Howard, a student-athlete on the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team, is the SEC Player of the Year and 2022 SEC Tournament Champion and most valuable player. The Governor thanked her for her advocacy on behalf of all Kentucky student-athletes related to recent name, image and likeness legislation.

“A number of our college basketball teams from all divisions are having incredible seasons,” said Gov. Beshear. “And thanks to the passing of Senate Bill 6, Kentucky will be an even more attractive place for student-athletes, from all over the world, to come to and share their talents with us.”

He also recognized the Bellarmine University men’s basketball team, which won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament title this week. The Knights are playing in just their second season as an NCAA Division-I program. The Murray State Racers were the first men’s team from Kentucky to earn a spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament, while making history as 18-time Ohio Valley Conference champions.

The Louisville women’s basketball team is projected to be among the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament, once again hosting the first two rounds at home. University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Oscar Tshiebwe earned the Sporting News’ National Player of the Year award. The Transylvania women’s basketball team is currently 26-0 and playing in the Division-III Sweet Sixteen tomorrow.

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