(LEX 18) — Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball says she is not requiring her office to wear masks.
In a statement, Ball says the Treasury Department has a "very high rate of vaccination" among its employees and says staff members have been responsible for monitoring their health. She called Governor Andy Beshear's most recent mandate for state employees "counterproductive and overbroad."
The mandate from Gov. Beshear came on Wednesday. He said all state employees will be required to mask up indoors when they're around other people following new guidance from the CDC. The policy applies to visitors as well.
"Listen, I didn't want to have to go back to this. Nobody wants to have to go back to this. But at the same time, we pledged to protect one another, to be there for the Commonwealth," said Gov. Beshear in a video message.
Ball says employees will be able and encouraged to wear a mask at work, but they will not be penalized or mandated to do so.
"We have dealt with COVID for well over a year, and despite the overwhelming passage of legislation to curb the Governor's attempts to rule by executive fiat, the Governor is fixated upon the notion that he needs to assert himself over every aspect of Kentuckians' daily lives," said Ball. "Governor Beshear refuses any dialogue with those who disagree with what is best for the Commonwealth; his administration is on the record as describing those who don’t fall in lockstep with his demands as being 'ignorant and obstinate.'"
"We have seen his repeated refusal to allow local control over school decisions, and his blatant disregard for Kentuckians' constitutional rights," said Ball. "Perhaps more people in this state would be open to vaccination if the Governor chose to treat them with respect, rather than trying to bully and bribe them into following his commands."
Ball says Kentuckians should consider getting vaccinated and to "make responsible choices for themselves, their families, and their communities."