Severe winter weather here in the Commonwealth has left thousands without electricity and some without heat. It is my sincere hope that you and your family remain safe and warm.

I stay inspired by the committed work of our linemen and road workers who brave the elements to keep the world turning for all of us. Also deserving of credit are local officials who have taken the necessary action to provide a local response amid power outages and, of course, our first responders who remain on duty rain, sleet, or shine.

Due to the condition of roadways and low temperatures, official legislative work was postponed. The safety of staff and members were prioritized. Rather than getting on treacherous roads, meetings were held virtually, and work was

done remotely where it

could be.

No committee meetings were held, nor was there any activity in the House or Senate chambers. The General Assembly was scheduled to reconvene on Monday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m.

Even though the session was postponed, the legislature remains to focus on its efforts. I look forward to returning to Frankfort this week to continue working on your behalf.

A significant development we learned about recently is yet again related to the tens of thousands of outstanding unemployment claims that have yet to be resolved. During such inclement weather, I cannot help but think about the individuals who have struggled to pay their bills and who have not received the unemployment benefits that would allow them to do so.

A recent report published by the Kentucky State Auditor found over 400,000 emails sent to the administration that have yet to be opened. There are no doubt people here in our district whose claims have yet to receive attention. Additionally, it appears

some payments were back-dated, and some

folks received benefits

for which they did not qualify. The full report

lists additional findings.

You can find it at auditor.ky.gov.

I know many people continue to struggle, and severe weather only serves to make life more difficult. Please know that you remain in my prayers. Do not hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of any assistance to you. Be sure to follow severe weather safety tips. By visiting www.kyem.ky.gov, you can find helpful information as to how to prepare for bad weather.

Join me in continued prayer for our local road department workers, linemen, first responders, and everyone who may

be struggling right now. I trust that brighter and warmer days are ahead

of us.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me Jason.Howell@LRC.ky.gov.

Sen. Jason Howell (R- Murray) represents the First District including Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon, and Trigg counties.