Kentucky governor loses pandemic emergency powers legal challenge as COVID cases surge

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The Kentucky Supreme Court on Saturday ordered a lower court to dissolve an injunction that had prevented Republican-backed legislation from limiting the executive authority of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Beshear has imposed emergency health measures including an indoor mask mandate for K-12 schools, child care and pre-kindergartens, as cases surge across the state. The ruling paves the way for the Republican-led legislature to enact legislation curbing his emergency powers.

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Details: In a unanimous ruling, Kentucky's highest court said that Franklin Circuit Court had abused its authority in blocking the GOP-led laws, which it said were lawfully passed.

  • The governor's "complaint does not present a substantial legal question that would necessitate staying the effectiveness of the legislation," it added.

What they're saying: Beshear's spokesperson Crystal Staley told AP that with the Kentucky Supreme Court dissolving this "pandemic-related state of emergency," the court "has removed much of his ability" to "keep Kentuckians safe," moving forward.

  • "If called into a special session, we hope the General Assembly would do the right thing," Staley added.

  • Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron called on Beshear to speak with state lawmakers to "find consensus on what is needed to protect Kentuckians," per AP.

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