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Kentucky judge grants statewide temporary restraining order against some COVID-19 executive orders

The restraining order applies to Gov. Beshear's executive orders related to childcare centers and racetracks following lawsuit by AG Cameron and KY businesses.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Friday a Boone Circuit Judge entered a temporary restraining order against some of Governor Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 executive orders, following a lawsuit brought by several Northern Kentucky businesses and joined by the Attorney General Daniel Cameron. 

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Beshear’s use of executive power during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney General Cameron joined the Northern Kentucky businesses this week in challenging Governor Beshear’s broad emergency authority.

In a hearing this week, Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brueggemann ruled in favor of the Kentucky businesses and granted their request for a temporary restraining order. 

The order stops the statewide enforcement of the Governor’s executive orders as they apply to childcare centers and car racetracks.

“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Beshear’s restrictive executive orders have shuttered the Commonwealth’s economy, leaving nearly half of our workforce unemployed and dictating the manner in which Kentuckians can live their lives,” said AG Cameron. 

The lawsuit argues that since Beshear declared an emergency on March 6, 2020, he has arbitrarily issued "complex, overbroad, and often conflicting orders."

Cameron argues that the Governor has the right to protect the Commonwealth and its citizens from a public health emergency. But, the law requires that the Governor’s actions and orders be targeted and proportional to the threat the Commonwealth is confronting.

Beshear's office called the ruling "dangerous," saying it would lessen important protections that many states use.

"The ruling lessening day care protections comes on the same day that we learned 300 children in Texas day cares have contracted the virus," the governor's office said. "We will be filing the appropriate papers to move this case directly to the Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court. An attorney general should protect people, not put their lives in danger.”

The case continues, and the court will now consider each of the Attorney General’s claims, including that the Governor has violated the rights enshrined in Section 1 of the Kentucky Constitution, acted arbitrarily in violation of Section 2, and failed to provide due process to those Kentuckians of whom he has taken away rights.

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