FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A northern Kentucky judge has issued a temporary restraining order to keep the Beshear administration from enforcing some of their executive orders issued to control the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, a hearing was held on a lawsuit filed in Boone Circuit Court by Florence Speedway (a half-mile dirt track, not to be confused with Kentucky Speedway in Sparta), and Little Links to Learning, a childcare center.
The suit maintains the Governor has no authority to make “value judgments” or “arbitrarily invade liberty or property rights under the guise of police protection,” and that state law provides no authority for “any emergency powers to exist for a perpetual . . . potentially never-ending disease outbreak.”
Florence Speedway pointed out provisions in the executive orders that stated, “racetracks must prohibit fans and outside media,” while “allowing attendance at outdoor auctions and indoor attendance at movie theatres.”
The daycare center stated it faced closure based upon restrictions in the Governor’s orders, specifically, “the prohibition against grouping of children in groups of ten or less, including children who are siblings. This requires far more ‘teachers’ or monitors than the rates for childcare can support.”
They complained that there is no basis for the separation.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron intervened on behalf of the plaintiffs in the suit, saying, “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.”
Boone Circuit Judge Richard A. Brueggeman ruled in favor of the tracks and childcare center, in stopping enforcement of the executive orders.
Reacting to the ruling, Cameron said, “While there is no doubt a need to protect public health during this pandemic, our Constitution expressly prohibits one person from controlling every aspect of life for Kentuckians. The statewide temporary restraining order issued today suggests the court shares our concern that the Governor’s executive orders are arbitrary and violate the constitution.”
Gov. Beshear’s office, meanwhile, issued a statement expressing disappointment in the ruling:
“This ruling is dangerous and would lessen and eliminate important protections that numerous states are using to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The ruling lessening day care protections comes on the same day that we learned 300 children in Texas day cares have contracted the virus. 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 judge has set another hearing for July 16.