- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Lawmakers have given final passage to a bill expanding a scholarship program for students in Kentucky’s struggling coal regions.

The measure cleared the General Assembly shortly before lawmakers ended the 2014 legislative session Tuesday night.

The bill now goes to Gov. Steve Beshear for his consideration. It’s a top priority of House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

The measure aims to increase the number of people obtaining college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The students, for the most part, would attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes they pursue careers in the same region after graduation.

The scholarships are funded with coal severance-tax funds.

Participating students have to attend four-year campuses in their region unless their programs aren’t offered locally.

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The legislation is House Bill 2.

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