Nicholasville’s Douglas files measure to end state of emergency

Senate resolution would end in March 7, year and a day after first case in state

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Sen. Donald Douglas, a Nicholasville Republican and doctor, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 150 (SJR 150) Friday morning, which would legislatively end the Governor’s near two-year COVID-19 state of emergency. It would also end any executive order or regulation reliant on the state of emergency.

“As a physician, I can and will speak on this matter from a position of knowledge and authority,” Douglas said.

“My experience the past 23 months is unique compared to most in the legislature, as I have at one point been only a constituent, but since November I’ve served as an elected voice for the 22nd District. It is time to end this state of emergency and do so in an affirmative manner. This is what our people want. This is what our constituents need. Dare I say; this is what they demand.”

SJR 150 designates March 7, 2022, one day over two years from the original state of emergency declaration, as the end date. On March 6, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear signed Executive Order 2020-215, declaring the state of emergency. Beshear has suggested he plans to lift the order or at least ease recommendations on March 14, 2022.

Some mandates were struck down by the judiciary in rulings last year while others were ended during last year’s special legislative session. The state of emergency exists as a limited extension by the legislature at that time and again during the ongoing 2022 Regular Session with an expiration date of April 15.

“The General Assembly proved it could do what the governor spent a year insisting it couldn’t; serve as a deliberative and valuable partner in determining appropriate responses to COVID-19,” Douglas said.

“Before I arrived in the Senate chamber, this body championed local decision making and made ‘test-to-stay’ mainstream, which has kept students in the classrooms,” he said. “The General Assembly has supported small businesses rather than put them out of business. Additionally, just last month, we provided schools with the flexibility they need to mitigate COVID-19. These are the things that can happen when you embrace the idea of coming together to work for the holistic best interest of our state and our communities.”

For the first year of the pandemic, states across the country, led by Republicans and Democrats, followed much the same actions as Kentucky as the nation sorted out COVID, how it spread through the community, its dangers and health impacts. Those actions began to change as the health and medical fields began to learn more about the virus and even its variants.

Douglas claims other issues should be at the top of the agenda.

He noted that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky overdose deaths have increased nearly 50 percent. He also noted reports of child abuse and neglect dropped while schools were closed or operated virtually and many experts suggested it was because children were not in school where teachers and educators could spot suspected abuse. Douglas also lumped in the state’s unemployment difficulties and says the state’s economy is not as vibrant as Beshear paints in a “rose-colored view.”

“I think people need a breath of fresh air,” Douglas said. “Our constituents need a strong indication from their elected officials that we understand we cannot live in fear and isolation forever. People are mentally and emotionally exhausted, and government officials and bureaucrats have reached the limit of their effectiveness. Given the wealth of knowledge we now have on COVID-19 and the access to vaccinations and treatments, it’s time we trust free people to live freely. Let’s signal to them we care just as much about the quality of their life — their mental, emotional, social and spiritual health—as we do their physical health,” Douglas said, not elaborating on why he wouldn’t end the state of emergency immediately rather than waiting.

Categories: Local News, News, State News

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