FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear says he’s proud of the way Kentucky has responded to the flooding in Eastern Kentucky.

“But everybody up here knows that the people of Eastern Kentucky need more help,” he said.

Beshear called lawmakers to Frankfort this week to pass a relief package for the area.

What You Need To Know

  • Deadly flooding hit eastern Kentucky on July 28

  • Gov. Andy Beshear called a special session this week to pass a relief package

  • The relief package lawmakers unveiled spends a total of $212 million for the region

  • Lawmakers gathered in Frankfort on Wednesday, and the package is expected to pass by Friday

The proposal unveiled Wednesday would spend a total of $212 million, $200 million of which comes from the state’s rainy day fund and will go into a new fund called the East Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies fund.

The fund will distribute money to local governments, state agencies, utility providers, and schools; all to help repair and rebuild roads, buildings, or anything else damaged by the floods.

“We are committed to ensuring our cities and our counties don’t go bankrupt in providing the necessary services and repairs that need to be done right now,” Beshear said. “And making sure that our local utilities don’t have to raise rates on families that are already struggling to rebuild and wondering what tomorrow is going to bring.”

Another $12 million in money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act will assist local governments with water and sewer improvements.

Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said there were no politics involved between him, fellow Republican legislative leaders, and the governor when it came to providing help.

“This is a testament to what everybody does when something like this happens in the state of Kentucky,” he said. “You come together to make sure your friends, your neighbors and your families are taken care of.”

Stivers said the money will help until lawmakers come back for the regular session in January, when, hopefully, they have a better idea of just how bad the destruction is.

“And I’ll say this to the governor and everybody else: I don’t know that we’re going to have [the full picture] by January 1,” Stivers said. “That just becomes the reality because there’s so much there.”

Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), the top Democrat in the Senate, said it’s a good starting point.

“We’re going to have to keep coming back and seeing what people need to make sure that our eastern Kentucky neighbors fully recover from this,” he said. “But this is a great way to come together and start getting people the relief they need now.”

Rep. Angie Hatton (D-Whitesburg) said she hopes the flooding won’t be the final nail in the coffin for people who are thinking about leaving eastern Kentucky, and hopefully the legislature will consider something in the regular session to further address other issues in the region as well as the flooding.

“Rather than this disaster being the end of us, my hope is that it will be a catalyst to help us make some long-term changes to make it an easier place to live,” she said.

The legislation lawmakers are considering will also give school districts more flexibility with remote learning and with the school funding formula so they aren’t punished for losing students.

The relief package also expands the western Kentucky tornado relief package that lawmakers approved earlier in the year, making the money available for longer.

Lawmakers plan to pass the relief package and wrap up the special session by Friday.