FRANKFORT — October Interim Joint Committee meetings will surely ramp up with substantial policy issues as we near the beginning of the 2021 Regular Session. Due to the outbreak of a global pandemic in the latter part of the 2020 Session, the Kentucky General Assembly agreed to revisit the two-year state budget during the 2021 session. Legislators will continue to address the unforeseen economic consequences of COVID-19 during committee meetings. This, on top of a hefty amount of other policy issues, certainly makes for a busy session looking ahead.
Governor Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that Kentucky eclipsed 1,000 COVID-19 cases on two consecutive days this week. It is the first time this has happened since March 6, around the beginning of the pandemic in Kentucky. It is imperative for us to take the proper precautions to protect our family members and neighbors. For the sake of others and our economy, we must do our part by wearing a mask and following social distancing guidelines. We will get through this — but only if we continue to work together and defeat the invisible enemy.
Governor Beshear also stated a $7 million grant to support behavioral health services in the Appalachian region has been awarded. The Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, a Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) agency, received the grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in response to natural disasters, including severe flooding and mudslides, which affected the area in 2019. Services supported by the grant will help individuals in 21 eastern Kentucky counties impacted by the natural disasters.
Next Friday, October 9, is the deadline to request your mail-in absentee ballot. Individuals who are concerned with contracting or spreading the coronavirus may request an absentee ballot at GoVoteKY.com. Absentee ballots are required to be postmarked by Election Day, November 3, and received by November 6. Beginning Tuesday, October 13 early in-person voting will be available at local County Clerks’ offices for three weeks before the election. Be sure to call your County Clerk’s office before your visit, and check if you need to make an appointment. This year, anyone will be able to vote early at the County Clerks’ offices, for any reason.
As we progress toward Election Day and through the Interim Session, I will do my best to keep you informed and in the know. Stay engaged, remain vigilant, and remember to mask up, Kentucky! We are all in this together. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I remain accessible by email at Robin.Webb@LRC.KY.GOV.