Ky. legislative committee questions health leaders over Beshear’s mask mandate

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 12:34 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A state legislative panel heard from health leaders about the governor’s mask mandate on Monday.

Lawmakers in the Administrative Regulations Interim Committee had questions over the mandate.

The meeting involved both House and Senate legislators in the committee and they asked a varied number of questions from if the mandate is constitutional, to if the General Assembly was consulted about the mandate before it was put into effect.

Health Cabinet Secretary Eric Friedlander told lawmakers there is scientific evidence that masks will work and curb the spread of COVID-19. He says there is a growing body of evidence that masks have an impact.

But some lawmakers want to know if it’s constitutional to require Kentuckians to wear masks. Health leaders say they believe the governor has the right to do this because of the state of emergency.

Health leaders and a lawyer for the health cabinet did say the General Assembly was not contacted first. However, another said lawmakers have been consulted about various issues during the pandemic.

Senator Julie Racque-Adams did say she’s learning of various problems people are having in her district including a man who says he should be cleared from wearing a mask because of hearing impairment.

“Yet, they have been denied two times when they were out this weekend from an establishment, two establishments,” said Racque-Adams, R-Louisville. “And the establishment said, ‘we don’t know if we will get in trouble because patrons over there don’t know if you are hearing impaired, we might get called on.‘”

Health leaders admit there needs to be more education and guidance.

Dr. Steven Stack, the public health commissioner, said the wearing of masks is the most important thing to reopening the economy.

The committee chairman said his number one recommendation is for there to be an immediate public hearing on the regulation.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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