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Beshear Declares State of Emergency for Kentucky, and Legislators Take a Snow Day

Rae Hodge
Steve Beshear

Update 1:20 p.m.: Beshear Asks Motorists to Stay Off Roads
During a conference call on Thursday afternoon, Gov. Steve Beshear encouraged Kentucky drivers to stay off the highways to allow emergency crews to clear snow and stalled cars.

"They just need to have a little patience and use a little common sense and we’ll all be OK," Beshear said.

Major traffic backups are still being dealt with on soundbound Interstate 54 north of Elizabeth own and I-24 in both directions between Eddyville and Cadiz in Western Kentucky.

Beshear said 85 National Guard troops from six armories have been activated to assist with the emergency response around the state.

The governor declared Kentucky's second state of emergency in less than a month.

"A lot of these people have been working 12 hour shifts for two weeks now because of the first winter storm and now this one, but they’re doing a great job and we just ask people to be careful and be patient as we try to get the roads cleared," Beshear said.

Earlier: Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency Thursday morning after much of Kentucky was blanketed by heavy snow.

Also in Frankfort, the General Assembly won't be in session as planned because of the snow.

“Two significant winter storms nearly back-to-back are rare in Kentucky, and pose a challenge for our emergency management teams, road crews and local emergency responders,"Beshear said in a statement on Thursday morning.

"This emergency declaration will allow us to deploy any needed state assistance, including National Guard troops if necessary, without delay."

This is the second state of emergency declared by the governor in a month.

The state legislature is also closed for the day, with reports that the electricity is out in the Capitol building.

This is the third legislative day that both chambers have canceled due to snow. Leadership in the state House and Senate have repeatedly said they won’t extend the legislative calendar, remaining firm on the March 24 end date.

Legislators are still considering several high-profile pieces of legislation: the heroin bill, the local option sales tax constitutional amendment and a bill that would allow the state to engage in public-private partnerships.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.