FRANKFORT, KY (AP, WOWK) – 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.
The state Supreme Court stepped into the dispute by issuing a stay on any orders halting enforcement of Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive actions. In doing so, the high court preempted a judge who was expected to sign an order blocking all of the governor’s COVID-19 orders.
“We are extremely happy to see the Kentucky Supreme Court step in and put the safety of Kentuckians above politics. The law giving the governor emergency powers is clear, indisputable and built on a solid legal foundation, and the General Assembly reaffirmed that by adding to it at the start of the pandemic. If Attorney General Daniel Cameron had had his way, dozens if not hundreds of Kentuckians could have gotten sick and died. We question how he came up with his reasons for doing this, and we certainly don’t understand why.”Joint statement from Kentucky House and Senate Democratic Leadership
In its dramatic order, the high court said two lower courts could proceed with coronavirus-related issues before them and issue “finding of fact and conclusions of law.” But the Supreme Court said “no order, however, characterized, shall be effective.”
“I’m just relieved. Everybody still gets their chance to go to court. I’m just relieved.Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear
“Our stay shall continue until the full record of proceedings below is reviewed by this court, all parties have been given the opportunity to address the orders in briefs, and this court issues a final order addressing these issues of paramount public importance to all citizens of the commonwealth,” the Supreme Court said.
Earlier in the day, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said a Boone County circuit judge intended to sign an order blocking all of the governor’s emergency orders.
Beshear’s office acknowledged it was anticipating a lower court order that would “void all of the orders the governor has issued to keep us safe.”
Beshear said yesterday 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.