Last week, the Kentucky General Assembly convened for its annual session that runs until April.
This year is particularly important because it is a so-called budget year in which the legislature adopts a two-year budget for the Commonwealth including the investments that policymakers will make in higher education.
Already, early in the session, details are emerging around multiple budget proposals, along with their potential impact on higher education. Both proposals – from Governor Beshear’s administration and the leadership in the state House – would make significant investments in higher education and the University of Kentucky – from increases in funding to investments in our infrastructure, including the capacity to continue our renewal and renovation initiative in the core of our campus.
At the same time, as significant and important as these proposals are, it is very early in what is always a fluid process. The Governor formally proposed his budget last night. The House will develop and adopt a budget, and the state Senate will invariably weigh in as well. Ultimately, it is our hope, as we always try to do, to work collaboratively with the House, the Senate and the Governor on a final budget that we hope recognizes the outstanding work you do to advance Kentucky. We will also work to keep you informed at important steps along the way.
We also know that, in addition to a budget, hundreds of bills will be filed, and many of them in some way could impact our institution. We have a dedicated government relations team that monitors all of this activity and ably represents our interests in Frankfort. If you are contacted about legislation, we ask that you reach out to our Executive Director of Government Relations Bart Hardin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Vice President for University Relations Tom Harris (email@example.com) with questions about how best to proceed in navigating what are often sensitive issues for UK and for policymakers.
As always, I am eager to tell the UK story in Frankfort and with policymakers. As challenging as this period remains, there are so many exciting and profoundly important developments occurring at Kentucky’s university. We are doing so much to advance the state we were created to serve with the investments our elected officials make in UK toward our missions of education, research, service and care.
The dollars these policymakers invest in us, in the midst of so many challenges and important priorities, are a testament to the work you do and the steadfast commitment you have to our students and our Commonwealth.
Thank you for what you do. I look forward to working with our campus and our policymakers in the weeks ahead.