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Lawmaker introduces bill to end Kentucky’s near two-year state of emergency for COVID-19

Lawmakers in Frankfort are discussing bills that would end pandemic restrictions.
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 11:37 AM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers in Frankfort are discussing bills that would end pandemic restrictions. They are taking up a number of bills, including a ban on school mask enforcement.

Friday morning, Senator Donald Douglas, R-Nicholasville, introduced a measure to end Kentucky’s state of emergency for the pandemic.

Senator Douglass’ resolution was the biggest move we’ve seen by lawmakers since the pandemic began. The resolution would end the nearly two-year state of emergency for the pandemic and any regulations that rely on that state of emergency.

Senator Douglass says the state has moved past the pandemic nature of COVID-19 and that furthering the state of emergency would continue to do more harm than good for Kentuckians.

“We need to get our society moving again,” Sen. Douglas said. “We need to bring our society back together again, and we need to change the definitions that we keep using. We are not in a pandemic, we are in an endemic.”

An ‘endemic’ essentially recognizes that a disease will not go away and will continue to pop up from time to time.

Senate President Robert Stivers agreed with Senator Douglas and pointed to states like California who, throughout the pandemic, have imposed stricter regulations than Kentucky and are now doing away with some pandemic restrictions.

As one senator pointed out during the session, California has a 5% positivity rate and 70% of its population is fully vaccinated. Kentucky’s positivity rate is currently 15% and 56% vaccination rate.

“In medicine, we talk about risk-benefit ratio, are we doing more harm or are we doing more good. And someone has to make that determination,” Sen. Douglas said.

Senate Joint Resolution 150 would designate March 7 as the official end of the state of emergency if it is adopted.

Governor Andy Beshear’s office released this statement in response to SJR 150:

While Kentuckians should be excited that pandemic numbers are moving in the right direction, currently we still have more than 300 Kentucky National Guard members assisting overwhelmed hospitals, and last month we had 700 COVID-related deaths reported – yet despite these facts, the Senate today filed a joint resolution undoing their own extension of the state of emergency. The state of emergency helps Kentucky receive federal dollars to fight the pandemic and provide relief. Kentucky is open for business – there are no state restrictions on our employers and our schools have been and are open. Gov. Beshear is focused on beating the pandemic and not playing politics. He hopes others will follow that example.

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