LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear is calling a special legislative session to address the COVID-19 pandemic as cases and hospitalizations continue to get worse in Kentucky.
Beshear signed the official call in Frankfort on Saturday.
That special session would begin Tuesday at 10 a.m.
When the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld new laws limiting his emergency powers, the governor said he began reaching out to legislative leadership that would determine the next steps.
He’s asking lawmakers to address various topics including extending the state of emergency until Jan. 15, 2022; giving the governor the ability to require masks in indoor settings, giving school districts more flexibility and using leftover funds from the American Rescue Plan to continue the fight against COVID-19.
“This is one of the most dangerous times we’ve experienced this entire pandemic, with the delta variant burning through Kentucky and taking more of our loved ones and neighbors. It’s also overwhelming more and more of our hospitals and shutting down our schools,” Beshear said. “We need as many tools as possible to fight this deadly surge in order to save lives, keep our children in school and keep our economy churning.”
The virus continues to worsen in Kentucky with 5,111 cases reported on Friday – 1,547 of those found in kids under 18 years old.
Many of the new cases are causing strains of the state’s hospital systems as numbers continue to break records daily. Two-thirds of Kentucky’s hospitals are already facing a critical staffing shortage.
Beshear believe the General Assembly would be able to get through the special session in 5 days.
“It doesn’t mean I’m going to get everything I want out of it – I’m pretty positive I won’t, but I think they will come to consensus early on about what they are willing to do,” he said.