Beshear Addresses More Diversity for Education, Law Enforcement, and Health Care

Governor Andy Beshear announced Monday that his administration will extend health care coverage to all African American residents in the state in what he calls the first commitment to providing health care for every Kentuckian.

The plan to provide health care was one of three initiatives announced that also includes providing more bias training for law enforcement and school employees.

Beshear said African Americans make up eight percent of the state’s population but account for 16-percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths and said the inequalities in the health care system have been laid bare by the coronavirus.

click to download audioBeshear offered no details on how the commitment would be funded and could not provide a breakdown of how many Kentuckians were uninsured. A 2018 study by Kentucky Health Issues said 11-percent of the state’s total population between 18 and 64 were uninsured but 98-percent of everyone 65 and older had some form of health insurance.

The governor also announced that police and educators will also undergo additional training that covers implicit bias. For the state’s police officers, that will mean a mandatory eight-hour course offered online sometime this year that will also cover use of force, ethics, civil rights, and accountability. Beshear said the 8-hour training is nowhere close to what is needed but is a beginning.

click to download audioPolice officers already receive some of that training as part of the academy curriculum while other elements are taught through supervisory courses. The last time the state mandated specialized police training in the wake of a global event was after 9/11 through the newly created Office of Homeland Security.

Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, who is a teacher and heads a nonprofit organization on education policy reform, said the state will develop a plan to implement statewide bias training in all schools and develop new strategies to recruit more African Americans into the education field.

Coleman says now is the time for education to bridge the gaps that divide us.

click to download audioBeshear said now is the time for Kentucky to step forward and be a leader during a time of impending change.

click to download audioThe governor said more details about these initiatives will be announced in the coming weeks.

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