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Beshear vetoes resolution ending Kentucky's COVID-19 emergency early

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has vetoed a resolution ending the COVID-19 state of emergency he issued in March 2020.

The measure would end the declaration a month before it’s scheduled to expire.

While the resolution received unanimous support among Republicans in the House and Senate, Governor Beshear called it politics at its worst.

He cautioned Kentucky would lose $50 million in federal benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program if the emergency ends before it’s set to expire on Apr.15.

Extra benefits through SNAP are only available to states that have declared a COVID-19 emergency.

In a briefing earlier this week, Beshear noted there have been no statewide pandemic-realted restrictions for six months, and the resolution would only do harm.

“All it does is take food off the table of struggling seniors and children," he stated. "My faith tells me that’s wrong.”

According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, more than a half-million Kentuckians are benefiting from the extra federal benefits.

According to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, the federal government
has provided Kentucky about $50 million more in monthly food benefits since the pandemic. An analysis by the leaf-leaning group found the resolution would cause the average monthly benefit of $243 to drop by
about $100.

Supporters of the ending the emergency declaration early argue Kentucky’s COVID-19 cases are drastically down and lawmakers should act while still in session to prevent the governor from issuing an extension. The legislative session ends April 14th.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly can override Beshear’s veto.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.