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Real ID, Work Ready Initiatives Vetoed By Governor

Associated Press,

Gov. Matt Bevin has put a red line through parts of the state biennial budget and vetoed all or a portion of six additional bills, including a piece of legislation that appeared primed for a signature.

One surprise casualty is Senate Bill 245, a measure paving the way for Kentucky’s driver's licenses to become Real ID compliant. The federal Real ID Act set new minimum security standards for the state-issued licenses, fulfilling a recommendation made by the 9/11 Commission. In a video posted to the governor’s Facebook page earlier this year, Bevin sounded bullish on the bill.

"... I'm as protective as most when as it relates to things like our privacy and our personal liberties and these are the kind of things I don't intend in any way shape or form to see compromised," he said. "Real ID is nothing to be concerned about. It's a way from us to ensure that only the people who should have drivers licenses have them."

But when it came time to sign, the governor changed course – saying it’s attracted significant opposition and voters deserve to see “what effect, if any, the next presidential administration will have on this issue.” Under current federal rules, Kentucky would need to implement the changes or risk forcing fliers to obtain passports or other acceptable ID to board domestic flights starting in 2020.

In addition, Bevin also pushed back a program to pay tuition for college students seeking associates degrees by one year. The community college scholarship initiative known as “Work Ready” had a vocal advocate in House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

"For those who would say can we afford it now, I would submit just the opposite," the Democrat testified before a committee in March. "Can we not afford it? Can we not train our children? Can we not have them ready for Kentucky's demands?"

Under the program, two-year associate degree seekers meeting certain requirements – a 2.5 GPA, 15 credit hour per semester, among others – would be eligible for free tuition at state colleges. Bevin kept the funding intact but postponed the launch for a year, saying the state needs more time to implement the program.

In a statement Stumbo criticized the move saying, it will “impact every high school student across Kentucky and their families because the students would have been able to attend college beginning this fall tuition-free and be ready to work upon graduation.”

Citing affordability concerns, the governor also took the veto pen to provisions expanding eligibility for preschool programs and funding preventive health measures.

All the vetoes will stand because the legislature forfeited its ability to override by passing the bills on the last day of the session.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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