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Lawmakers in Kentucky Speed up $200M in Tornado Relief

Tornadoes raked Western Kentucky on the night of Dec. 10 and early morning of Dec. 11, killing 77 people and destroying hundreds of homes, stores, churches and other buildings.

tornado
(TNS) - The Kentucky Senate gave unanimous final passage on Wednesday to a $200 million relief package for the tornado-devastated communities of Western Kentucky, sending it to Gov. Andy Beshear's desk to be signed into law.

House Bill 5 enjoyed bipartisan support as it sped through the General Assembly over the last week.

The bill would provide $45 million in immediate aid. Of that, $30 million would go to local school districts for services such as after-school programs, mental health counseling, transportation for displaced students and repairs to damaged schools. The remaining $15 million would be used to provide temporary housing assistance.

The bill also would put $155 million in state money into a newly created West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies Fund, to be run by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. Local governments, school districts, nonprofits and others could apply to the SAFE Fund for assistance with rebuilding expenses.

Tornadoes raked Western Kentucky on the night of Dec. 10 and early morning of Dec. 11, killing 77 people and destroying hundreds of homes, stores, churches and other buildings.

"Although it seems like a lifetime to those affected, it's really been barely a month since these storms hit," Sen. Jason Howell, R- Murray, told his Senate colleagues in a floor speech on Wednesday.

"Much hard work has already taken place to define areas of need," Howell said. "Much more will come in the future, especially for those in the trenches who have been dealing with this every day. They can step back and catch their breath and contribute all of the valuable information that we need to be able to properly help us rebuild."

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