Senator Steve Meredith's Update: Social Distancing Keeping Us Apart Physically, But Bringing Us Together
by Senator Steve Meredith:
As we continue to learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic with each passing day, I am proud to see how Kentuckians are responding. Even while implementing safety precautions such as “social distancing” that physically keep us apart, we are pulling together like never before in order to fight this invisible enemy. Our motto has never been more evident: “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Members of the Kentucky General Assembly returned to Frankfort on Thursday with the primary goal of advancing the state’s biennial budget plan. While negative economic impacts due to the coronavirus are inevitable, I am confident in the legislature’s ability to reconcile political differences and craft a balanced two-year financial plan for the Commonwealth.
The budget conference committee began meeting this week. This bipartisan and bicameral group is tasked with reexamining the current budget document and determining the most financially responsible avenue moving forward, given the economic climate. To get a clearer view of what the state’s financial future could look like, the committee heard a report from the State Budget Director, who offered a less than optimistic projection with an estimated $300 million in revenue losses over the next two years. These difficult financial conversations and budget revisions will be ongoing until a final version of the budget is agreed upon.
We are constitutionally required to pass a budget prior to adjourning the legislative session. Therefore, it is anticipated that both chambers will vote on the finalized budget bill when we reconvene on our next legislative day on Wednesday, April 1. We will be in veto recess until the session’s final days on April 14 and 15.
There are many ways for you to stay informed on legislative happenings as we continue our work in Frankfort. To see the daily meeting schedule with links to livestreams visit:
LRC: legislature.ky.gov (link to watch is on the homepage).
I understand that these are troubling times, and it feels like there are more questions than answers. However, I believe it is important that all Kentuckians are informed of the resources that have been made available to help with any questions or concerns that you may have. I would ask for your assistance in sharing this information with those in your community as well.
The COVID-19 hotline is still available to those in need: 1 (800) 722-5725. They ask that you first review their website, kycovid19.ky.gov, before calling. Guidance and updated information is being provided as it becomes available.
The Education & Workforce Development Cabinet is working expeditiously to better serve those who have been displaced from work during this time. To expedite the process, Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims will be filed on a specific day of the week based on the first letter of your last name:
Sunday: A – D
Monday: E – H
Tuesday: I – L
Wednesday: M – P
Thursday: Q – U
Friday: V – Z (And all who missed their day)
Please be on the lookout for UI information and other updates from the cabinet via social media and its website: www.kcc.ky.gov.
As we maneuver through the final legislative days of the 2020 Regular Session, I encourage you to utilize resources mentioned to stay updated on the coronavirus situation and budget discussions. Take care of each other and stay healthy. It is an honor to represent you in Frankfort.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Stephen.Meredith@LRC.ky.gov. I invite you to reach out to me on any other matter of importance to you as well. Don’t forget; you can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.legislature.ky.gov.