Bevin takes veto pen to parts of the budget dealing with education and more

Using all of the time allotted for the governor to veto bills, first-term Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday evening that he used his veto power to veto all or parts of seven bills that were passed on the final day of the 2016 legislative session.

One of those bills that saw line item vetoes was House Bill 303, which contained the two-year budget agreement. Because of the legislature’s decision to work on the budget through the legislative veto period, the General Assembly is unable to override these vetoes.

The budget agreement included $25 million for a “Work Ready” scholarship program which would provide free tuition to students attending one of the state’s community and technical colleges, state university or private college or university to receive an associate’s degree beginning fall 2016. In his veto message, Bevin explained that he is striking the funding for the first year of this program because it will take time to implement, but he left the funding for the program intact for 2017.

Along with that change to the program, Bevin vetoed the language putting the scholarships in statute, meaning the legislature will need to pass that language again in the next legislative session in order for the program to continue.

Bevin also removed parameters put in place by the legislature relating to how a $100 million bond for workforce development will be spent. The legislature put in statute a structure on how that money would be spent, created a board, laid out a process for applications and more. Removing that criteria gives Bevin the ability to spend the money without restrictions.

$90 million per year allocated for preschool remains, but the mandated expanded eligibility language passed by the legislature was struck.

Bevin also vetoed part of the state’s operating budget including money for screenings for colon cancer, breast and cervical cancer and money for lung cancer research. It was explained by Bevin’s spokesperson that the money can be restored by the Health and Family Services Cabinet secretary, but the appropriations will no longer be required by law, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Bevin’s vetoes also gave him more control over state spending as he sliced specific words and passages from the bill that appear to give him the authority to change how much state agencies can spend.

Other bills vetoed by the new governor included legislation that would have put Kentucky in compliance with new federal government requirements that all states must update their driver’s licenses to comply with new security standards, striking provisions of bills dealing with the state’s two-year road construction plan and operating budget for the state Transportation Cabinet and more.

Read the veto messages from the governor here:

Get the details of what was in the state’s two-year state budget passed by the General Assembly before vetoes occurred here.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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