NKY judge blocks Beshear’s COVID-19 executive orders on race tracks, child care, restaurants

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:25 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - A Boone County judge issued a late night temporary injunction blocking several of Gov. Beshear executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, the latest in a series of legal defeats for Kentucky’s leader.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron tweeted out the development Thursday night.

It comes after a lengthy hearing earlier in the day at Boone County Circuit Court in a case against the governor and other state officials. The plaintiffs are Florence Speedway in Walton, Theodore J. Roberts of Burlington, Ridgeway Properties, LLC d/b/a Beans Café & Bakery in Dry Ridge and Little Links to Learning in Fort Wright.

Because of the judge’s decision, some of the governor’s orders for restaurants, businesses and child care will be relaxed.

The case likely will now head to the Kentucky Supreme Court for final determination.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Chris Wiest, said in a statement to FOX19 NOW that the “ruling provides much needed critical relief to Kentucky’s industries that have been pushed to the brink of ruin.

“It is a win for the rule of law and the Constitutional separation of powers. The Governor’s witnesses indicated they have other powers under Kentucky law to help control diseases besides executive edicts. It is time they follow those laws.”

FOX19 NOW is seeking comment from the governor and will update this story once we hear back.

Earlier Thursday, Beshear criticized Cameron during the governor’s daily coronavirus briefing. He said Kentucky is at a critical moment in the battle against COVID-19.

“What we are seeing across the country is alarming. We are seeing state after state not just facing escalating cases, but facing devastation,” Beshear said.

As of Thursday, there are 413 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the states, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 21,803, according to the governor.

This includes five children who were recently diagnosed, including two newborns who are just 2-month-old, according to Beshear.

“Today, we have a record number of kids under 5 diagnosed with COVID-19. These kids are counting on us to do the right thing,” he said.

Out of the total confirmed cases in Kentucky, 5,500 have recovered, health officials say.

Of the amount of current positive cases, 418 are in the hospital.

Besehar said Cameron is “seeing to invalidate the executive orders that keep us safe from COVID-19.”

He accused the attorney general of trying to void:

  • Healthy at Work requirements;
  • Expanded workers’ compensation eligibility for workers – including first responders, active military and grocery store employees – who are ordered to quarantine as a result of exposure; and
  • A measure that waives copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance.

“Today the attorney general asked a court in Boone County to overturn every single order we have put in place to protect people and to stop my office from putting in any future order to keep us safe,” Beshear said. “It’s truly frightening. Companies wouldn’t even have to sanitize. In the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It means we would fail. It means people would die. Those are the facts, and that’s the truth.”

Cameron took to Twitter to defend himself, writing: “Today, we are in court to protect the rights of Kentuckians and ensure that the process used by the Governor to issue Executive Orders complies with the law. This is not about the Governor’s policies, it’s about making sure he follows the law.”

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