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Beshear: Measure would cost Kentucky millions in food aid

Kentuckians stand to lose tens of millions of dollars in extra food stamp benefits, if a GOP-backed measure to end the COVID-19 state of emergency becomes law.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Struggling Kentuckians would lose extra food stamp benefits if a Republican-backed measure to end the COVID-19 state of emergency early becomes law, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

The state's GOP-dominated legislature finished work on the measure last week, sending it to the governor. Beshear hasn't taken action on the measure, but he condemned it as “politics at its worst.” The resolution cleared the legislature with enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto.

Kentuckians stand to lose tens of millions of dollars in extra food stamp benefits, the governor said at a news conference. Beshear said his administration consistently pointed to the extra federal food stamp benefits when discussing the virus-related state of emergency with legislative leaders.

“Ending this state of emergency, cutting $50 million worth of food to our people, is wrong," Beshear said. “And for what? There are no COVID restrictions in Kentucky. None. And there haven’t been for six months. ... They won’t do anything for individual liberty because there isn’t a restriction out there.”

Senate President Robert Stivers said the resolution states that lawmakers have no intent to “impair or delay" the state's ability to receive pandemic-related federal funds. Stivers suggested another potential remedy for the extended food benefits through the emergency regulation process.

"If the governor needs something from the legislature, he still has time to come to us and we have time to respond," Stivers said Monday in a statement.

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