FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A legislative subcommittee charged with overseeing the state’s regulatory process rejected a regulation Tuesday that would allow the governor to extend the mask mandate past its June 11 expiration date.
Despite its expiration in three days, the administration filed the emergency regulation to align the governor’s revised mandate with new federal recommendations.
“On paper this may be a revision, but in reality this is a new mask mandate and would have to be repealed by the governor,” legislative committee co-chair David Hale, R-Wellington, said. “We have no intention of extending a regulation that could have devastating effect on Kentucky businesses that could or could not be repealed.”
Pursuant to KRS 13A.270, the cabinet held a public hearing on the provisions provided in the new regulation. During the hearing, Kentuckians from throughout the state communicated concerns regarding mask mandates, some specifically citing a study released from the CDC, where 70% of respondents who wore a mask contracted COVID-19.
“Even after hearing Kentuckians’ concerns, the administration refused to amend the regulation,” Hale said. “At this point, it seems like this regulation and any additional mandates are more about control, and less about public health.”
The governor’s Executive Order is set to expire on Friday. Officials from the Cabinet stated they expect further guidance from the governor’s administration on Friday.
The Governor's Office said this was another example of lawmakers "playing poticis." They issued the following statement:
"As announced May 14, Gov. Beshear will issue a new order in three days lifting the mask requirement for all but a few vulnerable settings recommended by the CDC to limit the spread of the deadly virus in health care, long-term care and other facilities with high-risk populations. The mask mandate for vaccinated Kentuckians has been lifted since May 13. Today’s meeting was another example of lawmakers playing politics with the pandemic and trying to create confusion around a serious public health matter."
CHFS requested to defer the review of this order with it being outdated in just three days, but the members refused. The committee cannot override regulations, according to the Governor's Office.