FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky governor’s efforts to combat COVID-19 have suffered a landmark legal defeat.
The state’s high court on Saturday cleared the way for laws reining in his emergency powers to take effect. The state Supreme Court ordered a lower court to dissolve an injunction blocking the new Republican-backed laws limiting Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers.
The ruling revolves around a dispute between Beshear and the GOP-led legislature over the scope of the governor’s executive authority in times of emergencies. It comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging in Kentucky.
The governor lifted most of his pandemic restrictions in June. But with COVID-19 cases spiking due to the delta variant, he signed a recent executive order imposing an indoor mask mandate in K-12 schools, child care and pre-kindergarten programs across Kentucky.
One of the contested laws limits the governor’s executive orders in times of emergency to 30 days unless extended by lawmakers.