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AG Cameron says motion against mask mandate is about constitutionality

"I certainly support the idea that Kentuckians have a choice in making an assessment about wearing a mask."

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Attorney General Daniel Cameron said his motion asking a Scott County Circuit judge to rule on whether Governor Andy Beshear's mask mandate violated a temporary restraining order is not about whether people should wear masks, but whether they can be forced to wear one.

"We obviously have to be very concerned about the health of our citizens and I know our governor us trying to do that, but I have an equal responsibility to make sure that we're getting it right under the constitution," Cameron, R.-Kentucky, said.

Cameron said he personally wears a mask and members of his staff wear them as well, but while he does not oppose people wearing them as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he stopped short of saying he supports the idea of everyone wearing a mask when asked about it Monday morning.

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"I certainly support the idea that Kentuckians have a choice in making an assessment about wearing a mask," he said.

Beshear, D.-Kentucky, signed an executive order Thursday requiring everyone wear a facial covering or a mask in public, which includes in most businesses. People will also need to wear a mask when outdoors unless they can be more than six feet away from other people.

Exceptions to the requirement include children 5 and younger, people with health conditions preventing them from wearing a mask and people exercising as long as they are more than six feet apart from other people.

RELATED: Masks are now required in Kentucky. Here's what you need to know.

Credit: Chris Williams
The pair was cordial at December's swearing-in, but filing a lawsuit over Governor Andy Beshear's mask mandate appears to have created tension in Frankfort between Gov. Beshear and AG Daniel Cameron.

Hours before Beshear signed his executive order, Scott County Circuit Judge Brian Privett signed a temporary restraining order blocking Beshear from making future orders related to the coronavirus pandemic unless he met certain requirements, like listing out the specifics of why such an order is necessary and beyond the scope of state and local health and emergency organizations.

Cameron filed a motion Friday asking Privett to make a ruling on whether Beshear's executive order, which took effect Friday at 5 p.m., violated the restraining order. Cameron said he is not hoping the judge rules one way or the other, just that he follows the constitution in making his decision.

"We were very cautious and slow to move to challenging some of these orders and done this, in my judgment, in a way that is fair to the governor's office," he said.

Beshear has said he had appealed the restraining order and expects it to be overturned.

Cameron also criticized Beshear for refusing to work with his office and other leadership in the legislature before issuing his executive orders.

"A number of orders that have gone out prior to this one, we have not been included or consulted for input on those orders," he said. "I think as the chief legal officer, it would be good for the governor's office to communicate with me."

Cameron did acknowledge during a state of emergency, the governor's executive orders do carry the full weight of the law until struck down by a court.

Judge Privett has scheduled a hearing on Cameron's order this Thursday.

►Contact reporter Dennis Ting at dting@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter (@DennisJTing) and Facebook.  

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