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Gov. Beshear proposes $400-million in ARPA funds to reward essential workers

Associated Press

Governor Andy Beshear will be sending a letter to Kentucky lawmakers requesting that $400-million be used to provide bonuses to frontline and essential workers who have worked since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020. The funds would come from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“All of these healthcare heroes that we are seeing, that have been sticking it out, that have been staying in these hospitals working hard, that we’d be able to look them in the eye and say you deserve some of these ARPA dollars. Stick it out. Don’t go with that traveling agency. Make sure that you stay the course. Help those in your community. And there will be a reward.”

The final decision lies in the hands of the Kentucky legislators who reconvene for the next regular session in January. That means funds would not be available until 2022. Republican leaders have said they want the Governor to call a special session to find a solution to staffing shortages at Kentucky hospitals.

In Lexington, Urban County Council members have proposed using $15-million that the city is receiving in federal funds for “hero pay.” The proposal does not include employees of private businesses.