Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 Orders For Now

The court says Beshear's executive orders will remain in effect until it can hear full arguments from the governor's administration and the attorney general’s office and issue a final ruling

Jul 17, 2020 at 8:16 pm
click to enlarge Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 Orders For Now
Photo: YouTube screengrab

The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued an order upholding all of Gov. Andy Beshear's current executive orders put in place during the coronavirus pandemic until the court can hear full arguments and make a final ruling in the case.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Florence Speedway and others filed an injunction against the governor's executive orders, with Cameron Tweeting there are constitutional problems with them. 

The governor said Cameron's motion attempted to "void every single order that had been put out to fight this pandemic" — not just the face mask order, but also orders that covered workers' comp for first responders who had to quarantine after being exposed to COVID and orders that helped schools, for example.

“Up until an hour ago, we faced a horribly uncertain future where a request had been made to have zero rules, the Wild West,” Beshear said during a press briefing. “No requirements to wear a mask even though Alabama and Colorado have both done it in the last couple of days. Without requiring businesses to do the cleaning that would make sure that you don’t catch COVID-19. Without the requirement to even wash or sanitize your hands. It threatened all of the extra support that we’ve given to our first responders and it would be devastate our school systems.”

The Kentucky Supreme Court said that there was a need for "clear and consistent statewide public health policy" and that the "Kentucky legislature has expressly given the Governor broad executive powers in a public health emergency." Both of those facts together prompted them to order all of Beshear's executive orders be upheld until they can properly hear the case with "a full record of any evidence and pleadings considered by the lower courts."

Beshear outlined all of the orders that would be impacted if the injunctions went through in slideshow.

click to enlarge Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 Orders For Now
Photo: YouTube screengrab

His communications office also outlined them in a bulleted list in a press release. These are the orders that would have been cut:

  • Healthy at Work requirements;
  • Expanded NTI (non-traditional instruction) days for public schools, which give them the flexibility to cease in-person classes while continuing virtual instruction;
  • Expanded workers’ compensation eligibility for workers — including first responders, active military and grocery store employees — who are ordered to quarantine as a result of exposure; and
  • A measure that waives copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance.

It would have also forced public schools to limit themselves to 10 NTI days; limit school employees to three emergency leave days; and eliminated funding for any school that is not holding in-person classes. And it would have voided the temporary suspension of the civics test graduation requirement and end of course examinations for early graduates

“I’m not excited because that is or could be perceived a win, I’m relieved. I’m relieved because I’ve sat up the last two nights not sleeping, worried about how many people would die if we didn’t have any types of rules in place,” Beshear said. “I’ve stayed up the last two nights not sleeping, wondering how many of our first responders would show up if we didn’t have the authority to help them when they’re down or get hurt. I’ve stayed up the last two nights wondering what our school districts could do and could they make a real decision or would they be so financially strapped that they’d be forced to make one.”