Judge blocks laws in showdown between governor, lawmakers


Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear takes off his facial mask before providing an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state during a media conference at the Kentucky state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

FRANKFORT, KY (AP) — Kentucky’s Democratic governor has won a court order temporarily blocking Republican-backed laws threatening to invalidate his executive orders aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued the ruling Wednesday. He says Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration made a “strong case” that the laws are likely to “undermine, or even cripple,” public health measures needed to protect Kentuckians from the pandemic.

The judge issued orders blocking the three laws pending further proceedings in the high-stakes case.

Beshear filed a lawsuit challenging the laws soon after his vetoes of them were overridden. He says he appreciates the order and signaled that he’s had discussions with lawmakers.

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