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FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX56/WKYT) – Gov. Andy Beshear is taking steps to make it easier for the state’s nursing schools to attract and train more nurses. This comes as the state is dealing with a shortage of nurses that the pandemic only made worse.

Beshear said the nursing shortage is so severe, he’s declaring a state of emergency and signed an executive order that sets up a number of steps to make recruitment easier.

The executive order removes some of the roadblocks and red tape schools face when trying to recruit or enroll more students who want to become nurses. It requires the state board of nursing to approve requests for enrollment increases for schools that show they have the appropriate resources to handle more students.

The governor also said he’s going to write several incentives for future nurses in his next budget.

“There is no possibility that our nurses aren’t included in hero pay. Let me say it in a different way– my recommendation will be absolutely to include our nurses in the hero pay,” Beshear said.

The governor also said his budget will include loan forgiveness for nursing students. On Wednesday, Beshear said he will propose loan forgiveness for social workers.

In addition to nurses, Democratic lawmakers have also heard from police and firefighters on why they should be included in the hero bonus pay.