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Monday, March 22, 2021

10th straight week of declining Covid-19 cases in Kentucky; governor vetos five bills

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On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state’s lowest positivity rate since July 3, 2020, and updated Kentuckians on COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We’ve come too far and we’ve lost too much to mess this up now. So please continue to wear your masks until we get everybody vaccinated,” said Gov. Beshear. “And if you’re thinking about not taking the vaccine, think harder. Think about all the individuals you can protect. Think about how much they need your help to ensure we can continue what we see today, of fewer and fewer cases and fewer and fewer losses.”

Case Information 
As of 4 p.m. Monday, March 22, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 294
New deaths today: 11
New audit deaths: 50
Positivity rate: 2.93%
Total deaths: 5,799
Currently hospitalized: 434
Currently in ICU: 95
Currently on ventilator: 63

Additionally, he signed 13 other bills and vetoed five. 

Education bills currently on Beshear's desk, which will either be signed or vetoed as early as Wednesday are:

- House Bill 563, the school choice bill
- House Bill 258, the teachers pension bill 
- Senate Bill 128, the "do-over" year bill
- House Bill 133, the school tax increase bill

Gov. Beshear signed:

House Bill 95 - caps insulin costs. 

House Bill 50 - provides the Department of Insurance with a necessary tool to review the processes of insurers and remove any barriers to providing coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services in the same manner that coverage for medical and surgical services is provided.

House Bill 75 - bill prevents insurance companies from discriminating against a live organ donor by raising their rate, canceling coverage or denying coverage. 

House Bill 108 - supports coverage for colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests as well as coverage for medically necessary genetic cancer testing.

House Bill 140 - new law will support the telehealth delivery of care and services for the long term in accordance with HIPAA, clinical and technological/IT security standards.

House Bill 183 - helps ensure ongoing viability of hospitals across the state.

House Bill 219 - bill increases accessibly of syringes and advance the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Harm Reduction Strategy by making syringes and naloxone easier to purchase

House Bill 276 - bill would accelerate the path for personal care aides to become nurse aides.

House Bill 448 - this legislation would increase Kentuckians’ access to behavioral health services from qualified mental health professionals.

Senate Bill 55 - eliminates charges to Medicaid beneficiaries that include copayments and co-insurance 

Senate Bill 74 - this bill renames the Office of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders

Senate Bill 154 - expands the class of providers who supervise home health services and expanding health care services 

Senate Bill 163 - this bill recognizes the contributions of charitable health care providers

The Governor vetoed 

House Bill 275 
"The Governor does not support House Bill 275 because it violates the Kentucky Constitution in that it subjects the executive power placed with the Governor to the control of the state treasurer."

House Bill 394
"The Governor does not support House Bill 394 because it reduces oversight and gives the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission unchecked authority to choose the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources regardless of qualifications; to set the commissioner’s salary, no matter how high; to enter into a contract with its commissioner on its own terms even if they violate state law; and to have the sole power over its contracts without any oversight."

House Bill 518
"The Governor does not support House Bill 518 because it undermines the importance of agriculture in the commonwealth and puts hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at risk by allowing the State Fair Board to have complete control of its contracts with little to no oversight."

Senate Bill 93
"The Governor does not support Senate Bill 93 because it is unconstitutional and undermines the importance of agriculture in the commonwealth. This bill aims to remove the Governor’s involvement in the State Board of Agriculture – a board that has always been in the executive department."

Senate Bill 228
"The Governor does not support Senate Bill 228 (SB 228) because our nation’s founders enacted the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove the power to select United States senators from political party bosses. SB 228 violates the very purpose of this amendment by returning that power to political parties in the case of a vacancy."

“These bills violate our Constitution, chip away at our strong separation of powers and unlawfully attempt to restrict the Governor’s executive powers,” said Gov. Beshear.

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