NKY woman sues Beshear, attorney general over coronavirus-related travel ban

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 9:50 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2020 at 9:51 AM EDT
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COVINGTON, Ky. (FOX19) - A northern Kentucky woman sued Gov. Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron over a travel order imposed to try to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Thursday by Allison S. Alessandro, says Beshear’s order is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of Kentuckians to travel outside of the state, which is “a fundamental right firmly embedded in this nation’s jurisprudence.”

Gov. Beshear issues order limiting travel from Kentucky to other states

Alessandro, who lives in Campbell County, “regularly travels to Ohio and visits friends and family in Ohio,” according to the lawsuit.

Beshear’s order prevents her from going to Ohio “for the purpose of associating at a safe distance with her friends and family who reside there” and “to enjoy Ohio’s parks.”

Allesandro now fears traveling to Ohio “due to uncertainty over whether she will be detained or otherwise punished," the suit states.

The attorney general, the state’s official legal counsel, is named in the litigation because he has said his office would pursue and prosecute persons suspected of violating the governor’s executive orders.

We sought an interview with Allesandro and her lawyer, but he said they could not due to Beshear’s order.

"Thanks for your coverage on this issue. While I appreciate your request for an interview of my client and me, we aren’t able to do so. My client resides in Kentucky and my law firm is in Ohio. Governor Beshear’s orders prohibit either of us from crossing the Kentucky border to meet for an interview with you.

“Our elected officials are not entitled to disregard the Constitution whenever they declare an emergency. I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy in these trying times,” wrote her attorney, Brian O’Connor, in an email to FOX19 NOW.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general said he received the lawsuit late Thursday and is evaluating the claims governor’s order violates the constitution.

Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky now has 770 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, along with at least 30 deaths. Tennessee now has 2,845 confirmed positive cases and 32 related fatalities.

More cases and deaths are expected as the nation braces for a surge in the coming weeks, so Beshear announced out of state travel was banned except for going to work, get groceries, to care for a loved one or for health care, or when required by a court order.

On Thursday, he expanded the state’s travel restrictions. Now, people entering Kentucky from other states must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The order does not apply to those who were just traveling through the state and not staying.

Last week, Beshear first recommended Kentucky residents avoid unnecessary travel to Tennessee due to that state’s higher number of positive cases and less restrictive business closings.

FOX19 NOW is working to get comment from all of the parties.

We will continue to update this story on air and all our digital platforms.

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