By Jack Brammer
With this year’s Kentucky General Assembly winding down, state lawmakers on Tuesday approved money for a startup life science research lab in Covington, the Brent Spence Bridge project, and full-day kindergarten, raised salaries for state workers, and changed the state’s income tax.
Wednesday is the scheduled last day to pass bills in the 2022 law-making session. Lawmakers are to recess until reconvening April 13 and 14 to consider any vetoes by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.
A flurry of bills received action Tuesday.
Most prominent was House Bill 1, the $16 billion state budget for the next two years.
A committee made up of legislators from the House and Senate unveiled a budget compromise that ironed out differences between the two chambers’ spending plans.
The bill is expected to win approval from both chambers. It then will go to Beshear, who can veto parts of it, but the Republican-led legislature is likely to override his vetoes.
Northern Kentucky projects
Northern Kentucky fared well in the House-Senate budget.
Covington research lab
It calls for $15 million for a proposed research lab in Covington that is designed to put Northern Kentucky on the map for life-saving biotechnology research.
Beshear had proposed spending $10 million on the project while the House declined to fund it. The Senate earmarked $15 million for it and that amount survived in Tuesday’s House-Senate compromise.
Asked how the project got more money than Beshear had proposed, Senate budget chair Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said, “There was just a generalized feeling among the stakeholders that it could be conceivably more than a $10 million appropriation and we wanted to make sure the money was there.
“That kind of research is critical to developing an environment for advanced biotechnology and we wanted to make sure we got it right.”
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said in an email, “We’re excited by the news, and appreciative of Sen. McDaniel and the other Northern Kentucky legislators who worked on our behalf to secure the funding for this life sciences lab.
“This is a critical hurdle in what we think will be a transformational project for the economy of not just Covington but the entire region, not to mention the life-saving and earth-shattering work that will be done in the realms of medicine and science.”
Meyer noted that the city had partners in trying to land the lab, including CTI, Bexion Pharmaceuticals, and Gravity Diagnostics.
Beshear spokeswoman Scottie Ellis said, “To …….