For Immediate Release: Friday, July 20,2020
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s first and only free-market think tank, urges the legislature to act in limiting the power of executive orders issued by governors in declared states of emergency.
The mandatory mask order issued by Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday which goes into effect at 5 p.m. today makes it imperative for the Kentucky General Assembly defines what constitutes a “state of emergency” in Kentucky and to more clearly limit the power of executive orders issued during such conditions.
“While our system of federalism gives states latitude in handling health crises and natural disasters, it doesn’t allow governors to abuse their power by issuing executive orders which trample on our individual liberties and intimidate business owners in ways which erode their constitutionally protected rights to operate their establishments as they see fit,” Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters said.
Beshear’s edict threatens business owners who fail to enforce the mask mandate with possible fines and shutdowns.
It also ignores a temporary restraining order issued by Scott Circuit Court Judge Brian Privett lifting Beshear’s previous restrictions on 548 agritourism businesses in the commonwealth along with requiring any future executive orders to “specifically state the emergency that requires the order, the location of the emergency, and the name of the local emergency management agency that has determined that the emergency is beyond its capabilities.”
The Bluegrass Institute praised Thursday’s letter to Beshear from legislative leaders and Attorney General Daniel Cameron calling on the governor to take a more collaborative approach in making future policy decisions related to COVID-19.
The letter righty expresses disapproval of the governor’s actions, pointing out “they have unilaterally imposed arbitrary and overbroad orders that purport to address the spread of the novel coronavirus in the same way – whether in Paducah or Pikeville, or whether in Louisville or Harlan. Unfortunately, your approach has repeatedly violated the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth.”
The Institute urges legislative leaders to exert their constitutionally endorsed authority as the people’s representatives to hit the ground running when they return in January to expedite legislation already filed, including bills filed by Reps. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, and Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, here and here limiting the length of executive orders without legislative approval.
“The governor sings about being ‘better together,’ and he’s right – the commonwealth will be better when he’s forced to collaborate with the people’s representatives,” Waters added.
For more information, please contact Jim Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org, 859.444.5630 ext. 102 (office) or 270.320.4376 (cell).