File-Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshears, AG Daniel Cameron

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, left, talks about the role of attorney general on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Frankfort, Ky., shortly before Daniel Cameron, right, is sworn in as Kentucky’s attorney general. Content Exchange

(The Center Square) - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear challenged bills moving through the state’s General Assembly changing how the state attacks the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, both the state House and Senate passed bills that seek to curtail the Democratic governor’s control. House Bill 1, which allows businesses or schools to remain open under certain conditions, passed that chamber by a 70-25 vote. Senate Bill 2, which would place limits on certain orders, passed by a 31-6 margin. 

On Monday, Beshear said in a news release the legislature’s actions limit the state’s ability to fight the virus, calling those actions both dangerous and unfeasible.

“We’ve some bills move through the General Assembly that attempt to create new ways of addressing the coronavirus,” Beshear said. “One bill that passed attempted to put U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines into law as the law that could be enforced. Today, I received a letter from Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, cautioning against this.”

In that letter, Redfield said the CDC guidance is intended to be flexible, rather than law.

“I want to make it clear that CDC guidance should not be interpreted as regulation; rather, they are meant as recommendations,” the letter said. “It should be used in consideration for specific state and/or local regulations, but this guidance is meant to be flexible and adaptable. It is not meant to be prescriptive or interpreted as standards that can be regulated.”

Beshear said the CDC has consistently backed the effectiveness of his restrictions placed on restaurants, bars, gyms, schools and other venues.

Both bills passed last week carry emergency provisions, which mean they would take effect immediately. While Beshear is widely expected to veto the bills, its highly likely Republicans will have enough votes to override those. 

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