FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Democrats held a special work group session Monday to hear testimony on what groups are most deserving of bonus pay.
Four House Democrats heard from nurses, firefighters, police and corrections officers about the need and want for bonus pay for those essential employees that worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Buddy Wheatley said the bonus pay — potentially as much as $400 million in federal funding — is included in the upcoming two-year budget. Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican legislative leaders have bristled at each other over the bonus pay. GOP members declined to be a part of Beshear's work group.
Beshear has said he wants the work group to decide how best to allocate the money by having the group hear testimony for different professions. Meanwhile, Republicans have previously said they think bonus pay should have already been made available but specifically for health care workers.
Those appearing before the work group, as well as those submitting written testimony, were asked to cover the following areas:
- What direct impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their profession, and how bonuses could alleviate that negative impact
- Other factors that might inform the General Assembly relating to the experiences of frontline and essential support workers
A second hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15. Beshear will likely base his budget recommendation for the pay on the decision of the work group. The Republican-controlled legislature will have the opportunity for changes, however.
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