January has been quite a month. We made New Year’s resolutions, inaugurated a new president, started the spring semester, and saw hundreds of thousands of people protest in the women’s march. The president of South Korea was impeached and Meryl Streep won the Golden Globe for a lifetime of notable work. But what happened this month in your state? I’ve put together some highlights just in case you missed it.
January saw historic changes in the Kentucky legislature. Since Republicans effectively swept the board in the November elections, there’s a new majority in town. On the first day congressional leaders made their way back to Frankfort, members of the Kentucky House elected the first Republican Speaker since 1921. You read that right; it’s been almost 100 years. Rep. Jeff Hoover is now Speaker of the House. Fun fact: Republican Speakers belong to a very small club. He’s one of only three Republicans to hold this position in state history!
Big changes also came to Frankfort in the form of policy. ‘Right to Work,’ the legislation that allows employees to refuse union membership, was passed by the House and Senate. Also, the ‘prevailing wage’ law that enforced a set wage for government construction projects was repealed. Supporters hope these measures will make Kentucky more competitive; opponents hope these moves don’t hurt employees by reducing wages and protections. Bills are moving through Frankfort at record speed. Hold on tight.
Have your pockets been full of tissues and Ricola? You’re not the only one. This month in Kentucky, the flu was upgraded from ‘regional’ to ‘widespread’ by the folks in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Cue the Lysol and hand sanitizer and hopefully, your flu shot! Its been a rough month for kids and old people as the flu has gotten worse.
In better news, Kentucky got a scholarship this month! We were one of ten states to receive a $2 million grant from the The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Between education leaders, businesses, and the government, plans are being made to use the money to prepare high school graduates for careers. Good news for you!
Your go-to spot for quick online shopping is about to drop some cash in your backyard. Amazon plans to bring more than 2,700 jobs to Kentucky through a $1.494 billion investment. Take note, what you see there is a ‘B.’ It will be the largest project in state history. That puts a smiley face on more than just the box. The CVG airport in northern Kentucky is the official landing spot and will support Amazon’s Prime Air cargo planes.
There you have it, January in a nutshell. Be sure to keep an eye out for the February Kentucky News Review.
Jessica Casebolt, a former Miss Kentucky, is a correspondent for the The Lane Report. You can reach her at [email protected]