FRANKFORT, Ky. — Those who want to do business with Kentucky government agencies will be required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) manufactured in the United States when possible under a measure drafted for consideration during the 2021 Regular Session.
The bill draft, requested by state Rep. Matt Koch, R-Paris, and state Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, applies to any company, health care provider, or public agency that contracts with the state.
“We’re learning a great deal from this pandemic, not the least is that we need the security of PPE made here in the United States,” Nemes added. “We went into it this with limited equipment and a PPE supply chain that was nowhere near prepared to serve our health needs and best interests. We have a chance to better prepare for what the future holds and we want to take advantage of that opportunity.”
If domestically-produced PPE is not available or cost-prohibitive, the bill draft allows the company, health care provider, or agency to certify in writing that an attempt was made.
Koch added that the emphasis on domestically-produced PPE will provide a more consistent market.
“While this pandemic is unprecedented in its scope, it’s not the first time our nation has faced PPE shortages. In 2009, companies ramped up their production to meet the needs created by H1N1. Unfortunately, when that pandemic passed, those companies were left with the cost of increasing production and competition from international companies that didn’t step up during H1N1,” Koch added. “With this bill, we’re positioning state government to lead by example.”
Koch added that “I’ve seen and heard too many reports about health care workers wearing bandanas and other homemade PPE while treating COVID-19 patients. I believe we can do better, I know we owe it to them to try.”
Nemes pointed to similar requirements in other state and federal programs, “We expect child care centers and other agencies that participate in the food program to provide proof that they have comparison shopped for milk and cereal. Why would we not explore this as an opportunity to place a value on N-95 masks and respirators made in America?”
A copy of the BR is attached. Once pre-filed, it can be downloaded on the Legislative Research Commission’s website at www.legislature.ky.gov.