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Kentucky lawmakers consider pandemic-related issues in special session

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 11:52 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers are back in Frankfort this week for a special session to deal with the state’s surge in COVID-19 cases, and it’s already been a busy first day back at the Capitol.

This all comes after the state Supreme Court allowed laws limiting the governor’s emergency power to take effect.

The legislature will now decide what COVID regulation will stay and what will go.

One bill that deals with extending the state emergency has already passed both chambers and is on its way to the governor. It would not extend restrictions or mandate masks.

The Senate Education Committee took up Senate Bill 1, which nullifies the statewide mask mandate.

“Remember before the school year started, school districts had the freedom to do what they wanted to do,” Sen. Max Wise said.

Senate Bill 1 also set up a new way for schools or individual grades, not entire districts, for virtual learning. It passed 8 to 5 in committee.

“So to not have protections that’s provide to all Kentuckians when this virus can spread anywhere at any time is irresponsible,” Sen. Reggie Thomas said.

The legislature is the first in more than a year happening with people allowed to view it in person. Some were not happy being told to wear masks in the Capitol.

None of the bills being discussed include any kind of statewide mask mandate, in any capacity.

“If we don’t continue universal masking, we need to know we are ignoring or disagreeing with the CDC. And claiming we know better,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

The legislature is expected to meet through the end of the week. Legislative leaders say the joint resolution that extended the state of emergency for certain things such as health care help or price gouging laws was passed in one day.

Other bills will be passed over several days.

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