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Legislative Update April 15, 2020

Turner Gate

Dear campus community,

Today marks the end of the 2020 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly altered the budget process as lawmakers adjust for economic fallout and uncertainties brought on by the virus. Significantly, House Bill 352 (the executive budget) is now a one-year budget instead of a biennial budget.

Governor Beshear issued 18 line-item vetoes to House Bill 352 yesterday. A summary of each veto can be found here. Legislators return today and will determine what, if any, vetoes will be overridden. It takes a simple majority in each chamber to override a gubernatorial veto. By law, the legislature must adjourn sine die by 11:59 p.m. on April 15.

Here are key provisions of the FY 2020-21 state budget:

  • Performance funding remains in place, with $14,994,800 allocated to the model.
  • Considering the Model funds that are redirected into the EKU allowance, our state appropriation for the University remains the same as last year.
  • The 2% stop-loss provision is extended one more year. This provision stipulates that no institution can lose more than 2% of its base budget through performance funding.
  • KERS employer retirement contribution rates are frozen at 49.47%.
  • General fund-supported debt service was authorized to permit $8,016,000 for expanding EKU’s aviation program. This program continues to experience robust growth, and these funds will ensure this program is adequately resourced while allowing for continued growth.
  • $2.5 million in general fund support was authorized for Model Lab School. This money is not new. Instead, the way Model Lab is funded will change as a result of House Bill 366. Instead of funds passing through from Madison County Schools, the money will now flow directly to EKU.
  • The resurgence fund for capital preservation was removed.

I again thank Rep. Deanna Frazier and Sen. Jared Carpenter for their work on House Bill 366, which secured the future of Model Lab School. The unanimous vote this legislation received in both the House and Senate speaks to the quality education Model Lab provides and its potential to serve K-12 education in the Commonwealth for years to come.

I also thank the visionary leadership of the General Assembly and the support from Governor Beshear for committing to invest in Kentucky’s signature and only aviation program at EKU. The investment in the program will continue to further Kentucky’s position as a leader in aerospace and aviation economic success.

I extend my sincere appreciation to Ethan Witt, EKU’s Director of Government Relations, and the many advocates and supporters who made calls, composed emails and attended Colonels at the Capitol to help us articulate a clear and impactful message about EKU’s priorities. The results of their work will have a significant impact on the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond.

This legislative session will end in a way no one could have predicted a few short months ago. I am grateful to the members of the Kentucky General Assembly for their dedication and efforts during this time of immense uncertainty and economic difficulties.

We look forward to advancing EKU’s interests as the legislature convenes to craft another state budget in January 2021.

Thank you
David T. McFaddin, Interim President
Eastern Kentucky University
 

Published on April 15, 2020

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