September 6, 2021 4:46pm
Special session to address COVID to begin Tuesday
After more than a week of speculation and negotiation, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called the General Assembly back into a special session beginning 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 7. The special session will specifically address the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic as the Commonwealth sees surging infection rates and hospitalizations.
Last month, the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed new laws passed by the Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year to limit the Governor’s authority to issue executive orders during the pandemic. A special session is needed to extend the declaration of emergency and other protections before lapsing next week.
During a special session, legislators can only take up the issues that are included in the call by the Governor. Governor Beshear issued the call yesterday afternoon and requested that the General Assembly address the following issues:
- Extend Kentucky’s COVID-19 state of emergency through January 2022, when lawmakers will be back in regular session
- Review previously issued executive orders, along with agency and cabinet orders
- Consider criteria that would allow the governor to issue mask mandates
- Extend SB 5, the critical bill that provided liability protections for employers during the state of emergency
- Extend SB 150 which relaxed regulations and expanded access to telehealth services
- Provide flexibility for school districts as the grapple with increasing numbers of quarantines, staff shortages, and closures
- Appropriate funds for American Rescue Plan for continued COVID-19 response
Governor Beshear noted that he and lawmakers have had productive conversations thus far. Stay tuned to Policy Distilled next week for more information as the special session gets underway.