AG, GOP legislative leaders critical of Beshear’s mask order

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne sent a joint letter to Andy Beshear critical of his order mandating the wearing of masks in Kentucky, according to a report in the Courier-Journal.

The letter references several lawsuits filed against Governor Beshear over his orders during the coronavirus outbreak dating back to March.  It does not include any language of challenging the mask order in court.

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The letter in its entirety is below:

Dear Governor Beshear,

We were made aware today, through your press conference, of your executive order mandating Kentuckians wear face coverings in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. As usual, you have put forth this order by edict rather than through collaboration.

As the chief law officer for the Commonwealth and the leaders of the General Assembly, we are in a unique position to work with you on developing policies that protect public health during this pandemic while respecting the constitutional rights of Kentuckians. As members of Kentucky’s law-making body, the duly elected representatives of the General Assembly are closest to the people and can assist in understanding the needs of local communities and how they will be impacted by mandatory orders.

With nearly half of Kentucky’s workforce unemployed and Kentucky families facing unprecedented hardships, we must work together to ensure that any new policies or executive orders do not further harm our fragile economic recovery.

Instead, you have unilaterally imposed arbitrary and over broad orders that purport to address the spread of the novel coronavirus in the same way—whether in Paducah or Pikeville, or whether in Louisville or Harlan. Unfortunately, your approach has repeatedly violated the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth. Just today, in fact, the Scott Circuit Court issued a statewide temporary restraining order against your executive orders and guidance. Multiple state and federal courts have similarly enjoined the enforcement of your broad and arbitrary executive orders. See, e.g., Roberts v. Neace, 958 F.3d 409 (6th Cir. 2020) (prohibiting the Governor from enforcing his orders against drive-in and in-person religious services); Maryville Baptist Church, Inc. v. Beshear, 957 F.3d 610 (6th Cir. 2020) (enjoining enforcement of the Governor’s orders that prohibited drive-in religious services); Ramsek v. Beshear, No. 3:20-CV-00036-GFVT, 2020 WL 3446249 (E.D. Ky.June 24, 2020) (enjoining the Governor from enforcing his unconstitutional ban on mass gatherings against political protesters); Tabernacle Baptist Church Inc. of Nicholasville, KY v. Beshear, 3:20-cv-33-GFVT (E.D. Ky. May 8, 2020) (granting temporary restraining order to enjoin the Governor from enforcing the prohibition on mass gatherings with respect to any in-person religious service which adheres to applicable social distancing and hygiene guidelines); Roberts v. Neace, No. 2:20CV054-WOB, 2020 WL 2115358 (E.D. Ky. May 4,2020) (enjoining the Governor from enforcing his travel ban); Florence Speedway, Inc. v. Beshear, No. 20-CI-678 (Boone Cir. Ct. July 2, 2020) (granting temporary restraining order to enjoin the Governor from enforcing certain requirements as against automobile racetracks and day cares).

These court actions could have been avoided had you more carefully considered the constitutional implications and consulted with a broad range of stakeholders. As you say, we are all in this together. We trust the citizens of this Commonwealth to make responsible decisions to protect themselves and their neighbors. As the chief leaders of the Kentucky General Assembly and the chief law officer of this Commonwealth, we ask that you do the same.

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.