FRANKFORT, Ky. - Republican Gov. Matt Bevin used his veto pen Wednesday to delay until 2017-18 the start of the Democratic House's priority program for free tuition for college students seeking two-year associate's degrees.
On his final day to veto bills, the governor vetoed House Bill 626, which set up the structure for the so-called "Work Ready Kentucky" scholarships championed by the House. Bevin also cut from the budget bill the $9.4 million to fund the scholarships in 2016-17 but left intact $15.9 million to fund Work Ready scholarships in 2017-18.
"Developing and implementing a properly functioning Work Ready Scholarship program will take a great deal of time and effort. Therefore, the most prudent action is to develop the program for implementation in fiscal year 2017-18," the governor said in his veto message.
But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, balked at the delay. In a statement, Stumbo said Bevin's vetoes "will impact every high school student across Kentucky and their families because the students would have been able to attend college beginning this fall tuition-free and be ready for work upon graduation."