Special Session Will Focus on Local Governments

Governor Andy Beshear said on Tuesday that a special session to address eastern Kentucky flood damage should happen within the next month. The governor and legislative leadership agreed last week that legislators will have to return to Frankfort before the 2023 Regular Session to pass measures that help flood-impacted communities.

At a Tuesday news conference, Beshear clarified that the session would include assistance for local governments. “We are working with the legislature to get legislation ready for a special session where we can provide assistance, especially to our cities and counties,” he stated.

Beshear clarified that helping local governments is vital to residents. “It means your water bill is not going to go up at a time when you are already struggling because of the massive amount of dollars that it’s going to take to rebuild that water system.” He also said legislators would address funding for damaged schools.

“Cities are primarily responsible for public health and safety, and provide much of the infrastructure residents depend on,” noted KLC Executive Director/CEO J.D. Chaney. “Cities in the hard-hit areas of eastern Kentucky will need a lot of help rebuilding roads, utilities, and public buildings. We appreciate the governor and legislative leadership for recognizing the need and working to provide local leaders the economic assistance they need to restore their communities.”

The governor also voiced ongoing frustration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response. “I think FEMA can and should do more to help everybody,” he responded. “This is the federal government. They print money, and we’re not talking about all that much.”

During Monday’s visit by President Joe Biden, Beshear remarked on issues with FEMA denying individual assistance applications. “The president yesterday said even the FEMA limit was not enough to help people get back on their feet,” Beshear added. “I hope that FEMA gets it right.”

FEMA approved assistance for residents in 12 Kentucky counties: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Whitley. Flood victims in those counties can apply at Disasterassistance.gov or 800-621-3362. In addition, flood victims in Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, and Perry counties can apply for direct temporary housing assistance.

You can learn more about available assistance at the state’s flood resources web page.