Coronavirus Updates

Judge signals intention to block Gov. Beshear’s virus orders

Kentucky

UPDATE 4:15 p.m. 7/17/2020: Kentucky’s highest court on Friday blocked lower courts from suspending the governor’s emergency orders related to the coronavirus pandemic pending its own review.

FRANKFORT, KY (AP, WOWK) – A Kentucky judge signaled that he intends to sign an order blocking all of Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency orders stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, the state’s attorney general said Friday.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron said a judge in Boone County indicated he would require the Democratic governor to “follow the legal process” when taking executive actions.

Cameron said in a social media post that the ruling would not “hamper the ability of public health officials to ensure the safety and well-being of Kentuckians.”

Beshear’s office acknowledged Friday that it was anticipating a court order that would “void all of the orders the governor has issued to keep us safe.”

“We are awaiting a written order and will be ready to take further action,” said Crystal Staley, the governor’s spokeswoman. “The lives of many Kentuckians are on the line.”

The judge held a lengthy hearing Thursday on Cameron’s request that the judge block all of Beshear’s coronavirus-related orders. Cameron also is seeking an order preventing the governor from issuing any new COVID-19 orders.

The legal feud comes as Kentucky has been hit by a recent spike in coronavirus cases. The state reported 413 more cases Thursday, including what the governor said was a “record number of children.

Beshear says an order blocking all of the emergency orders would include an order expanding workers’ compensation eligibility for workers – including first responders, active military and grocery store employees – who are ordered to quarantine as a result of exposure; and a measure that waives copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance.

“Today the attorney general asked a court in Boone County to overturn every single order we have put in place to protect people and to stop my office from putting in any future order to keep us safe,” said Gov. Beshear. “It’s truly frightening. Companies wouldn’t even have to sanitize. In the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It means we would fail. It means people would die. Those are the facts, and that’s the truth.”

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