FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) — A key Republican lawmaker unveiled a proposal Wednesday to set up a $50 million fund to help refugees from Ukraine and other war-torn countries resettle in Kentucky.

Sen. Chris McDaniel said his proposal reflects an opportunity where “public policy and human demand intersect,” citing the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded.

The bill would apply broadly to families displaced by international conflicts, but the opportunity to resettle Ukrainians in Kentucky “is pretty dramatic” in coming months, McDaniel said.

The bill would grant up to $10,000 for each refugee family that resettles in Kentucky with a maximum of 5,000 families. The money would come from Kentucky's general fund. 

His proposal was inserted Wednesday into a bill that won approval from the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee. The measure moves next to the full Senate.

The bill also would establish a scholarship for the families’ children.

“As this year advances, there are probably going to be significant opportunities to help with the resettlement of these people, who wanted nothing but to be free," McDaniel said.

Noting Kentucky’s workforce shortage, the state also would benefit from the program, he said.

McDaniel told his colleagues that he's open to making adjustments to the bill. The measure still needs approval in the full Senate and in the House.

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