FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDKY) – Kentucky lawmakers are reacting to the new COVID-19 mandates from Governor Beshear in different ways.
Some Republicans believe they should have had more of a say, but many Democrats are praising Beshear’s actions.
Kentucky lawmakers are meeting in interim committees as they prepare agenda for the next legislative session. We’ve heard for weeks now that Republican leadership wants to reign in the governor’s powers because they feel he’s been too heavy-handed, but Democrats we spoke with believe the governor is doing only what is necessary.
We spoke to two lawmakers from Eastern Kentucky, Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, and Rep. Angie Hatton, D-Whitesburg. Both come from small towns but both have different viewpoints from what the governor had to say Wednesday.
Blanton has concerns about the impact on small businesses and restaurant owners. Hatton says the mandates are in the best interest of public health.
“It’s already put a lot of people out of business,” said Rep. Blanton. “It’s already bankrupt a lot of people. Look, this thing is real. No one is arguing that. It is dangerous. But we have to find a balance. We can’t allow our economy to collapse.”
“I don’t think complaining is very productive, especially since no other alternatives are offered,” Rep. Hatton. “The White House issued a statement bragging our efforts here in Kentucky just this week.”
Rep. Blanton says the governor should have brought a broader group of people in to make these decisions and leadership has even said they believe the governor should have asked them first.
Rep. Hatton says the governor has the power to do these things with his executive orders.
Next year’s Kentucky legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 5.