Coronavirus fight also heating up in state courts

BY BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Claiming Kentucky is embroiled in “a life-and-death battle” against the coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear has asked separate courts to uphold some of his executive actions to combat COVID-19.

In a filing Tuesday, the Democratic governor asked a Franklin County Circuit Court judge to declare that he acted within his authority when requiring most Kentuckians to wear masks in public.

Beshear also asked the state Supreme Court to lift rulings that blocked his orders restricting crowd sizes at Florence Speedway and at agritourism sites as well as class sizes at day care centers.

Both filings declared the state is waging “a life-and-death battle against COVID-19 — the gravest threat to public health in over a century. The stakes could not be higher to Kentuckians.”

The legal maneuvering opens new rounds in an escalating legal fight pitting Beshear against some prominent Republican leaders, including Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Cameron quickly criticized Beshear’s court filings.

Regarding the mask issue, Cameron said the governor was “trying to circumvent standard legal procedure.” The attorney general said a hearing is scheduled this week in another circuit court on the legality of the mandatory mask order.

The legal fights come as Kentucky’s coronavirus cases have surged.

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