Western Ky. Tornado Aid, Repay $15 Million Aluminum Plant Loan Clear Sign | News

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The Kentucky Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Wednesday approved two bills, one providing $200 million in relief for victims of the Western Kentucky tornado, and the other concerning the $15 million loan granted to Unity Aluminum by the State.

Senate Bill 5 would establish the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies, or SAFE Fund, with $200 million. Of this amount, $155 million would go to the SAFE Fund for future allocation.

$30 million would be set aside for the Kentucky Department of Education for services such as comprehensive student and family services, transportation to classes for students to temporarily live in other counties, and repairs to school buildings.

Another $15 million is for the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, Division of Emergency Management, which will be used to purchase FEMA-eligible temporary housing units.

Sen. Jason Howell, R-Murray, the sponsor of the measure, told the panel who could use the money. “Eligible recipients are cities, counties, utilities, etc., in affected areas, which are defined by the Presidential Emergency Declaration through FEMA.”

Senator Robbie Mills, R-Henderson, pointed out that the bill only covered the costs of burying utility lines in Graves and Hopkins counties, but Princeton in Caldwell County suffered $3 million of damage to their electricity and water systems, while Bremen, in Muhlenberg County, also suffered significant damage and proposed that these two counties be added. The amendment was passed aloud.

Senator CB Embry, R-Morgantown, also spoke. “These families will now be affected. It will never be exactly like before. Eventually, we’ll get things back to something like normal, but they’ll never be the same again. “

SB 5, which is this chamber’s version of House Bill 5, was approved unanimously.

Senate Speaker Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, spoke on behalf of SB 48, sponsored by committee chairman Sen. Chris McDaniel, which would recoup $15 million earmarked in 2017 as an economic development incentive for an aluminum plant project in the Ashland area that was never built.

It was originally known as Braidy Industries, but the name was changed after a management shake-up, which included the ousting of the company’s founder.

Stivers, who says he signed a non-disclosure agreement after speaking with Unity Aluminium, said: “I think there is still a very good opportunity, but it is our job to make sure everything moves forward. And this bill will continue to emphasize that.

SB 48 gives Unity until the end of the year to repay the $15 million and orders the Cabinet for Economic Development to take legal action if the money is not returned.

It was also adopted unanimously. Both bills are now heading to the Senate floor.

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