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Sen. Julian Carroll

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday that $15 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds will be set aside to finance a new eviction relief program to assist landlords and tenants throughout the commonwealth dealing with the COVID-19 public health crisis. The fund will start accepting applications on Tuesday.

Beshear also addressed evictions through the signing of a new executive order. The order states that landlords must provide a tenant with a 30-day notice before they can be evicted. The notice sent to the tenant would request a meeting, and during these 30 days, the landlord and tenant must meet and consult to settle the issue.

Through this program, penalties and late fees cannot be charged against the tenant from March 6 to Dec. 31. If you or someone you know is facing eviction, contact the Kentucky COVID-19 Civil Legal Helpline toll-free at 833-540-0342 or visit kycovidlegalhelp.org.

As school districts are relying on nontraditional instruction more than ever, approximately 32,000 Kentucky students face a “digital divide” regarding internet access. To address the divide, Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced $8 million of CARES Act funds to provide low to no-cost internet access to qualifying households across Kentucky.

Officials of the Department of Education stated they will have guidelines on applying for this program by next week. Stay tuned for more information.

Recently, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) board voted to proceed with fall sports in 2020. Following the announcement of the board, Gov. Beshear confirmed the decision. As of now, high school athletes may begin competition the week of Sept. 7.

With many schools beginning an attempt to return students to the classroom, the state has begun to track school-related COVID cases. There are currently at least 50 active K-12 cases and more than 200 active post-secondary cases across the state. A list of schools and confirmed cases will be available at kycovid19.ky.gov.

Whether it be in-person instruction or virtual learning, I wish our Kentucky students, teachers, parents and school support staff the best as they commence the 2020 school year. As we navigate through these unprecedented times, remember that education is the key to success. Please stay safe and wear a mask during this transition period to protect yourself and others. We are all in this together.

Lastly, the deadline to apply in the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program is approaching. The only requirement to qualify for this grocery assistance program is the student’s participation in the free and reduced lunch program. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy estimates roughly 117,000 Kentucky students qualify who have not applied. You can apply online at benefind.ky.gov.

As we progress through the interim session and a global pandemic, I will do my best to keep you informed about legislative and government happenings in Frankfort. I ask that you stay safe and wear a mask when going about in public. Your input is important. You may leave a message for any legislator at the General Assembly’s Message Line at 800-372-7181.

Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, can be emailed at Julian.Carroll@lrc.ky.org.

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