Western Reacts to House Bill One Rejection

Another bill that has passed the General Assembly will increase in the speed limit. Senator Brett Guthrie represents Butler and Warren Counties sponsored the bill.

He said you can drive from Lake Michigan to Gulf Shores of Alabama and Kentucky is the only state where you can’t drive 70 miles-an-hour. However, there were several bills that didn’t make it through. Those include funding for the Bluegrass Airport where the Comair crash occurred, money for Wolf Creek Dam repairs and legislation for the Math and Science Academy at Western.

“My challenge is to figure out, is how at the end of the session is we sit down and people work together to see bills go forth that need to pass,” Senator Guthrie said.

One of the other bills that didn’t make it through the General Assembly was House Bill One, sponsored by Speaker Jody Richards of Bowling Green. This bill would have restored university projects that were vetoed by Governor Fletcher during the last budget cycle.

The mood on Western Kentucky University’s campus about the General Assembly’s failure to compromise on House Bill One can be described just like the weather ... dreary.

“Obviously there’s a little bit of disappointment, I’m sure. Obviously there’s some dismay especially among some folks who weren’t following this daily,” said Robbin Taylor, assistant to the university’s president.

The bill would have allowed funding for seven projects at Western. Three of those were to be paid by the state. The other four were agency funded, however the university needs the state’s approval for the bonds to begin the work.

“We cannot do these projects. We will be delayed until the General Assembly does at some point, hopefully, go back and revisit these projects,” Taylor said.

While many of the projects are on the back burner for now, some of the university’s money can be spent on a few, small improvements to the campus.

“We spent some of our own cash to do some of the parking improvements and we are currently doing that,” Taylor said.

University money has also been use on other projects.

“We spent some of our own cash for some of the improvements in the fine arts center to deal with some HVAC issues that are a real problem for that building and we’ve done planning and design on Van Meter and Preston Center,” Taylor said.

While those on the hill are disappointed House Bill One didn’t make it through this session, they say our legislators fought for the university’s projects.

“They did everything they could to try and negotiate to try and get our things done,” Taylor said.

Now they’re heading back to the drawing board and looking forward to brighter days in the next session.

Taylor said if the governor calls a special session, those with Western will lobby for House Bill One to be put on the list.

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