KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear delivered his weekly Team Kentucky update on April 7. During the press conference, the governor signed new bills into law, provided updates on economic developments and named this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. Here are the highlights from this week’s Team Kentucky update.
Governor Beshear highlighted three site and building development projects as the first to move through the approval stage in the initial round of the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KDPI). Last week, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) approved the three projects for over $2.7 million in state funding.
The Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Authority and Greenup County Fiscal Court submitted a regional project in partnership with Boyd, Carter, Elliot and Lawrence counties for the site acquisition of over 240 acres in the EastPark Industrial Park. The project will see $1.5 million in land acquisition, including $750,000 in state support.
In partnership with the London-Laurel County Economic Development Authority, the Laurel County Fiscal Court will build a 105,000-square-foot spec building to attract new business in the London community. KEDFA approved the $3.8 million project for just over $1.5 million in state funds through the KPDI program.
A project in Madison County will consist of nearly 47 acres owned by the Richmond Industrial Development Corporation. The project will develop and implement a land grading plan to better prepare the topography for industrial site development. According to a release from the governor’s office, the site will see $1 million in upgrades with state support of $500,000 toward the project.
Beshear also highlighted several economic developments, including:
- Microvast Advanced Membrane will locate a new facility in Hopkinsville with a $504 million investment creating 562 full-time jobs.
- Toyota Boshoku America will invest more than $225 million to construct a new facility in Hopkinsville and create 157 jobs for Kentuckians.
- EnerVenue, which builds metal-hydrogen batteries for stationary energy storage applications for utility-scale, commercial and residential use, will establish a new manufacturing facility in Shelby County, which is expected to create 450 full-time jobs with a $264 million Phase 1 investment with the potential for further investment.
- Campari Group plants to add a second distillery at its Wild Turkey campus in Lawrenceburg. The company will invest $161 million and create 31 additional jobs in Anderson County.
- LandCal Logistics, a third-pardy logistics company providing end-to-end supply chain services, will expand its Georgetown facility with a $600,000 investment creating 10 full-time positions.
Bills signed into law
Governor Beshear joined lawmakers and advocates to sign five pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly during the Team Kentucky update. Here’s what bills were signed into law:
House Bill 29 is a bill sponsored by Representative Derek Lewis of London that would remove the residency requirement for interment in Kentucky veteran cemeteries. A release from the governor’s office says this allows Kentucky to meet the United States Department of Veterans Affairs deadline of January 1, 2025, by which states are required to remove residency as a requirement for veterans to be buried in state cemeteries.
“This will allow more of our U.S. veterans to be honored by burial in a veteran cemetery after their death,” Gov. Beshear said. “Honoring our veterans is nothing short of a sacred duty. They give their very best, and they deserve our very best in return.”
Beshear also signed Senate Bill 40, sponsored by Senator Phillip Wheeler of Pikeville, which designates the fourth Thursday in March each year as Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American military pilots and airmen who fought in World War II.
“As we honor these great Kentuckians, it’s important to remember that these heroes answered the call to defend our nation at a time when their own rights and freedoms here at home were far from assured,” Gov. Beshear said. “On the fourth Thursday in March of each year, let us remember the Tuskegee Airmen, recommit ourselves to the selflessness and patriotism they showed, work to be worthy of the sacrifices these heroes made during their time, and do our part to strengthen our great nation.”
House Bill 9, sponsored by Representative Richard Heath, helps provide economic relief to local communities of the commonwealth. The bill provides $2 million to the Cabinet for Economic Development to create a state matching grant program for communities that receive federal grants requiring a state match. Governor Beshear says the new program will allow communities across Kentucky to apply for federal matching grants that support public safety, transportation community revitalization and more.
House Bill 21, sponsored by Representative Randy Bridges of Paducah, allows a person without a fixed, permanent address to apply for a state-issued identification credential or renew an operator’s license using forms from a homeless shelter, health care facility or social service agency currently serving the applicant. A release from the governor’s office says the legislation will remove a major obstacle that currently prevents persons engaged with the healthcare or social services systems from obtaining official identification or a driver’s license.
House Bill 125, sponsored by Representative Rebecca Raymer of Morgantown, was also signed into law on Friday. The bill requires the Department for Aging and Independent Living to publish and distribute materials to local health departments regarding dementia awareness in order to promote risk reduction and emphasize the importance of early diagnosis.
Affordable Connectivity Program
Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky has been recognized as one of the top five states and territories in the United States for getting eligible households signed up for the Affordable Connectivity Program. A release from the governor’s office says nearly 40% of eligible Kentuckians have signed up.
According to the governor, the ACP helps ensure households can afford high-speed internet for work, school, health care and more. The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
For more information about the ACP and its eligibility, click here.
Inclement weather and flood update
Earlier this week, Kentucky experienced more severe weather, with dangerous winds and a confirmed EF-1 tornado in Louisville. One apartment complex in Louisville saw a structural collapse, resulting in one injury and displacing 50 people. One individual from Louisville died during the storm.
“I want to thank everyone across Kentucky for taking precautions. We’ve been through a lot, but when we work together, we always come out stronger,” said Gov. Beshear.
Beshear will be traveling to Hopkinsville on Friday to survey damage and meet with community leaders.
The governor also provided an update on eastern Kentucky’s rebuilding efforts, following the historic flooding last year. Beshear says 160 families are housed in travel trailers and Kentucky State Parks are now housing 16 people, down from 360 people sheltered on September 1, 2022.
As of March 27, over $22 million has been approved for the buy-out program. Those awards account for 126 properties from Perry County, the city of Jackson, Breathitt County, Letcher County and Knott County applicants. The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.2 million from more than 41,500 donors.
Easter at the Capitol
The governor invited Kentuckians to celebrate Easter at the Capitol on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. EDT on the South Lawn of the Capitol. The event will include family activities, an Easter egg hunt, games, crafts, food trucks and a visit with the Easter Bunny.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Kentucky families and friends as we come together to celebrate hope, community and new beginnings,” said Gov. Beshear. “My family and I look forward to seeing everyone this Saturday as we gather with grateful hearts. We hope you’ll join us!”
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Governor Beshear named Transylvania women’s basketball as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The team made history last weekend, securing the national title in the NCAA Division III national championship game in Dallas. The win over Christopher Newport University capped off the team’s undefeated season and secured the first national title in Transylvania’s history as a school.
“It gives me a lot of pride to name the Transylvania women’s basketball team as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars,” said Gov. Beshear. “Congratulations to the Pioneers, their coaches and all of the fans out there supporting them through this amazing season. You all made Kentucky very proud!”