Lawmaker wants to limit Gov. Beshear's emergency orders, allow lawsuits over shutdown

(WYMT) - A GOP lawmaker wants to limit Gov. Andy Beshear's power to issue broad executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, she wants to allow businesses damaged by the shutdown sue the state for relief if they believe Beshear overreached.

Our media partner The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported Wednesday Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, filed a floor amendment to her own House Bill 322 that would gut the contents of the bill and replace it with new language that adds limitations to the emergency powers of the state's governor.

“There is not one of us who wants to suffer from a communicable disease, or to lose a friend, family member or member of the community to COVID-19 or any other virus,” Maddox said shortly before filing the amendment.

The bill originally required better reporting of asset forfeitures by law enforcement agencies.

Under this bill, what happens if Kentuckians believe Beshear overstepped his powers as governor? They can sue.

“Any person adversely effected by an emergency order may bring an action, individually or as a class action, for declaratory and injunctive relief, in the circuit court in the county in which the person resides or in which the person’s affected business is located,” the amendment reads.

Lawmakers return to Frankfort Thursday to resume the 2020 session after a one-week break.

House Republican leaders told The Herald-Leader, “At this time, leadership’s priority is passing a responsible budget.”

Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, more than 160 people in Kentucky were tested positive for the virus. Four people have died.