Senate president says any flood-related special session would likely be a precursor to further action
Senate President Robert Stivers says the gravity of natural disasters like those experienced in eastern and western Kentucky over the past eight months can only truly be grasped in person. The section of the Commonwealth Stivers represents is trying to cope with historic flooding while many in western Kentucky are still recovering from devastating tornadoes.
Stivers said there is a wide diversity of responses by residents in Appalachia to the flash flooding tragedy.
“You know some people laugh it off, but that may be just a way of dealing with the pressure. But, I’ve seen people crying that lost everything, coming in for help, they’re scared. But, it’s a tough time,” said Stivers.
Stivers said some residents may move, seeking higher ground. But, the Senate leader noted this amount of rain caused mudslides that affected homes well away from the river banks.
The GOP leader of the Kentucky Senate anticipates targeted recovery legislation for families impacted by record flooding in eastern Kentucky. Robert Stivers said part of the answer could come in a special legislative session.
“I think it’s a possibility, a high possibility. Whatever we do now I think is going to be just kind of a precursor to something else,” said Stivers
That something else, according to Stivers, would likely be a response package early next year similar to financial resources going to western Kentucky tornado-affected counties. Although it’s too soon to say, the eastern Kentucky lawmaker added the amount of state support could exceed the $200 million that went to western Kentucky. One of the more pressing issues is the removal of debris in flood-damaged areas.
Here's the conversation with State Senate President Robert Stivers. Weku's Stu Johnson began by asking if it takes being on the ground there in eastern Kentucky to get a full grasping of the situation: