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Judge grants temporary injunction blocking laws that limit Beshear COVID-19 powers

Judge Phillip Shepherd said Beshear’s administration made a “strong case” that the three laws are likely to “undermine" public health measures.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has won a court order that temporarily blocks Republican-backed laws threatening to invalidate his COVID-19 executive orders.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said Beshear’s administration made a “strong case” that the three laws are likely to “undermine, or even cripple,” public health measures needed to protect Kentuckians from the pandemic.

Shepherd issued orders blocking the three laws pending further proceedings in the high-stakes case: House Bill 1, Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2.

House Bill 1, a wide-ranging "reopen bill," would allow businesses reopen if they follow CDC guidelines, let select visitors see long-term care facility residents and prevents the Cabinet for Health and Family Services from denying visits between children and their non-custodial parents. 

Senate Bill 1 set a 30-day limit on a governor's emergency executive orders unless the General Assembly approves that they continue, while Senate Bill 2 gives the General Assembly more say in emergency regulations.

Beshear filed a lawsuit challenging the laws soon after his vetoes of them were overridden. He said he appreciates the order and signaled that he’s had discussions with lawmakers.

"The ability to act and react quickly is necessary in our war against this ever-changing and mutating virus," Beshear said in a statement. "Recently, we have been having productive conversations on a wide range of topics with legislative leaders. We will attempt to work with them on this and other topics now and in the future."

RELATED: Beshear eases restrictions; Kentucky businesses allowed 10% capacity boost beginning Friday

RELATED: Lawmakers move forward plan to grant Louisville civilian review board subpoena power

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