No more lockdowns or shutdowns: Ky. Republican lawmakers plan new COVID response

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2021 at 8:26 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The State Supreme Court decision on Saturday brings an end to Governor Andy Beshear’s management of the state’s COVID response without legislative approval. The state high court allows recently passed laws to stand, restricting the Governor’s emergency powers.

“There aren’t going to be anymore lockdowns or shutdowns,” State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) said. “There’s not going to be a statewide mask mandate, and the governor’s going to have to work with the General Assembly moving forward on some items where we can find agreement.”

The court decision, according to the Governor’s Communication Director Crystal Staley, potentially impacts a variety of issues beyond mask mandates including: health care capacity, meals for children and families, protection at long term care facilities, compensation for front line workers and price gouging.

The political shift in COVID management comes at a time when the public continues to show signs of mandate fatigue.

“I don’t think you can say one way or the other that what we’ve been doing for the past 18 months worked or not worked,” Thayer said. “We are prepared to work in conjunction with the Governor to come up with steps moving forward to manage our way through this.”

Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) said he has been in talks with Governor Beshear about calling a special session.

“Now Republicans are the ones who are the dog who caught the car,” McGarvey said. “The goal was to take away the Governor’s state of emergency powers, that’s happened. When the state of emergency lifts, we need to come together and put in place protections.”

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