"I am thrilled, and Kentuckians should be as well, that the General Assembly joined with me in taking a giant step forward in addressing one of the biggest problems facing our people -- prescription drug abuse. House Bill 1, passed in the special session today, gives us an aggressive, broad spectrum of policies needed to fight this problem on multiple fronts.
I'm also pleased that lawmakers passed a Transportation budget bill, needed for funding necessary projects around the state. I placed only two items in the special session call, and the legislature responded by passing both in the shortest possible time.
Even though the final version of the prescription drug bill doesn't include every element we had hoped, it is an enormous bipartisan accomplishment, and it restores Kentucky as a leading state in innovative tactics in battling prescription drug abuse. The elements of the bill will also help prevent Kentucky from becoming a source state for prescription pills.
I have long said that prescription drug abuse is not a partisan political issue, it's a Kentucky issue. When nearly three Kentuckians are dying every day from drug overdoses, we must cast aside our political party preferences and work together to find solutions to help our suffering families and communities. Our legislature has done just that in passing House Bill 1.
I want to thank the General Assembly for their bipartisan courage and tireless work on this issue. In particular, I want to thank Speaker Greg Stumbo, who sponsored the bill, as well as Majority Leader Sen. Robert Stivers, and Judiciary Committee Chairs Sen. Tom Jensen and Rep. John Tilley.
Just as in last year's session, when lawmakers joined together to pass a comprehensive corrections reform bill, this landmark bill has the potential to create long-standing, significant impact for our citizens.
Lawmakers also passed the Transportation budget; a $2.4 billion plan which includes all funds allocated to build and maintain roads in Kentucky, and also authorizes operations such as snow and ice removal, traffic management planning, bridge inspections and many other necessary services. Those projects create jobs in every county, ensure safe roads for our families, and protect and promote commerce not only within our counties but also among our surrounding states and region.
This budget includes necessary funding for the Ohio River Bridges Project. Just today, the Federal Highway Administration approved our supplemental environmental impact document, which is an important milestone for this massive project. The combination of these two actions today reinforces that this long-overdue project is truly on the fast track, and construction on the two bridges will begin in months, not years.
A deadlock and delay on the Transportation budget bill would have been devastating to every single county in our state, and I appreciate the legislature's quick action to pass this budget in the shortest amount of time possible."