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Kentucky agriculture commissioner joins others in lawsuit against Beshear administration

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 10:30 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles, along with officials with a family owned farm complex in Central Kentucky filed a lawsuit Monday in Scott County against Governor Beshear’s administration.

Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, LLC is a fifth generation family farm-owned agritourism destination in Georgetown, offering a u-pick orchard, a 96,000 square foot playground, and a converted barn facility that can be rented for weddings and other events.

Quarles and the owners claim in the lawsuit that several of Governor Andy Beshear’s executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic are in violation of the processes outlined by Kentucky’s Administrative Practices Act and the state constitution.

“The Evans Family has put public health first every step of the way during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Commissioner Quarles in a news release from his office. “But they have also suffered immense financial losses due to restrictions issued by the Governor during the State of Emergency. While the orders may be well-intentioned, they violate the Administrative Practices Act, which contains significant protections for input from the public and the General Assembly during the rulemaking process.”

Officials with the farm say they have worked with local health officials to comply with restrictions on the venue, but have been unable to re-open, causing “major financial losses.”

Governor Beshear’s office commented on the lawsuit saying, “At a time when states to our south are reporting over 8,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, the parties bringing this lawsuit want to eliminate the public health guidance and requirements that are keeping Kentuckians safe. All businesses have to follow the same rules and guidance for outdoor weddings and other activities. We are confident in the legality of these rules and have identified numerous legal issues with the suit, including that it was filed in the wrong place. If the parties here won and the virus spread because the facility was not following proper guidance, it could threaten the reopening of our economy and public schools.”

You can read the entire complaint here: https://files.constantcontact.com/64879f58201/7bab426d-2bac-4822-af78-095902fb1a2a.pdf

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