(LEX 18) — Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Thursday that a Scott Circuit Judge ordered Gov. Andy Beshear to cease issuing or enforcing executive orders related to COVID-19 unless the orders meet specific criteria for an emergency as outlined by state law. The Judge stated that, in order to issue and enforce executive orders related to COVID-19, the Governor must specify the state of emergency that requires the executive order, the location of the emergency, and the name of the local emergency management agency that has determined that the emergency is beyond its capabilities.
“The Governor cannot issue broad, arbitrary executive orders apart from the requirements of state law, and the Judge agreed by today issuing a statewide temporary restraining order,” said Attorney General Cameron. “This is a clear win for the rule of law and will help Kentucky families and businesses across the Commonwealth who have suffered and continue to suffer financial losses and economic hardship because of the Governor’s executive orders.”
Attorney General Cameron joined the lawsuit last week, which challenges Gov. Beshear’s use of executive power during the COVID-19 pandemic and was filed by Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, LLC, an agritourism business in Georgetown. Evans Orchard instituted new public health guidelines and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic in compliance with Governor Beshear’s executive orders, including requiring employees to wear masks, sanitation protocols for the facility, and reduced capacity to comply with social distancing. In one instance, Evans Orchard was told by the local health department that they could not allow more than 10 individuals at a time into the business’s 96,000 square foot attraction.
The temporary restraining order issued by the Judge today also stops the enforcement of Gov. Beshear's executive orders as they apply to Kentucky’s 548 agritourism businesses.
Gov. Beshear is expected to give an update on new requirements in the state of Kentucky on Thursday at 4 pm.