Local legislators comment on the governor’s special called session

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – In recent months, Governor Andy Beshear has been under intense scrutiny by GOP law lawmakers and Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who have challenged the constitutionality of Beshear’s COVID-19 executive orders.

Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Kentucky lawmakers to limit Beshear’s executive authority.

Now, Beshear is calling for a special legislative session this week.

“In previous searches the governor, me, was empowered to act, to do what is necessary to stop the spike, to flatten the curve, to save lives. The recent state Supreme Court decision has changed that. Now that burden will fall in large part on the general assembly,”

The state general assembly will meet this week to vote on whether to extend the pandemic state of emergency until January 15, 2022.

Remaining under a state of emergency allows for federal and state assistance to flow more freely at a quicker speed than under normal circumstances.

A portion of law makers and citizens have expressed frustration about Beshear announcing executive orders in the wake of the pandemic rather than allowing legislators to decide on mandates and other rulings.

The call to session will allow legislators to vote on prior executive orders and provide that such orders will remain in effect until the expiration of the state of emergency.

Representative Patti Minter, a democrat representative says she wants to see what the republican legislators plan is for replacing Beshear’s executive actions.

“A lot of the things that the governor did, in fact most of the things that he did, were incredibly popular. I don’t think people even noticed that he had done them because it just made things work better. But now, all of those things that everyone liked will have to be in the bills that come forward to the legislature. And I’m looking very forward to seeing what the plan is, but if you’re going to criticize, you have to have a plan,” said Minter.

It will also allow the legislators to set criteria for enacting a mask mandate, if the need arises, that the Governor must follow.

Representative Steve Sheldon, a republican representing the Bowling Green area, arrived in Frankfort this afternoon and says he does not expect a mask mandate for school children nor adults statewide.

“I kind of expect that to be determined by the local school boards and those decisions being made in our local communities across the state. As far as state wide mandates, we will have a list of things that the governor wanted us to continue and many of those are not controversial and we will continue those. I’m sure,” said Sheldon.

The session will also vote on allowing extra flexibility for schools to operate including alternatives to in-person instruction throughout this school year and allow finances to pay for extra sick leave and other support for schools.

“This session will be about COVID, about the general Assembly under the Supreme Court’s decision making determinations on this fight moving forward and it is a heavy load to carry,” said Beshear.

The session will also allow for votes on other issues such as state of emergency flooding assistance in Kentucky Counties and involving large economic development projects.

Only the governor can call a special session.

You can read the entire call to session here.