A bill granting sales tax refunds for Kentuckians hit by this month’s tornadoes is swiftly moving through the General Assembly.
The measure cleared the House Appropriations and Revenue committee less than 12 hours after it was first proposed. The language granting the refunds had to be inserted into another bill, House Bill 165, because the deadline to introduce new House bills passed weeks ago.
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg says he doesn't understand what criteria the Federal Emergency Management Agency used to deny disaster aid to southern Illinois counties ravaged by tornadoes. Gregg says his community needs the federal assistance and he hopes President Barack Obama comes to southern Illinois to see the devastation himself. Seven Harrisburg residents died after a powerful tornado hit Feb. 29. Gregg says he plans to mMayor ove quickly to get FEMA's decision appealed. He says that's only fair to the families hurt by the storm.
There have been twenty-one confirmed deaths in Kentucky after tornadoes tore through the state on Friday. Seven of those deaths were in Morgan County, where the county seat, West Liberty, was leveled by the storms. Louisville resident Alex Wright is a doctor with Norton Healthcare Systems. West Liberty is his hometown, and his extended family still lives there. He headed to the town Saturday morning to see how he could help, and described the scene he saw driving through downtown to Kentucky Public Radio’s Erica Peterson.
Relief and recovery efforts continue today across Kentucky and southern Indiana, where Friday’s outbreak of tornadoes killed more than 30 people and caused widespread devastation. Governor Steve Beshear has dispatched more than 200 National Guard troops to the hardest hit areas. Red Cross shelters are open across Kentucky. And Red Cross spokeswoman Vicki Eichstaedt says the best way for people to help tornado victims everywhere is with a financial contribution to the agency. You can find information on how to give here.
Governor Steve Beshear is requesting a federal disaster declaration for parts of eastern and northern Kentucky hit by tornadoes last week.
The declaration would allow federal money to help with clean up and rebuilding. It will also help provide funds to affected businesses.
Beshear announced the move at a news conference today, saying that while monetary estimates of damages aren't yet known, he's confident the there's enough damage to meet the $5.8 million federal threshold for assistance.