Gov. Andy Beshear issued more executive orders on Wednesday in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the Commonwealth. Beshear ordered K-12 schools, restaurants, event venues, and bars to close their doors beginning Friday. The order permits curbside pickup, delivery, and patio seating (which is rendered impractical by the winter weather). At the same time Beshear is allowing casino gambling venues to remain open.
“It’s disappointing that the governor sees restaurants and event venues as a bigger threat to public safety than casino gambling venues,” said Richard Nelson, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Policy Center, in response to the order. Gov. Beshear also recommended that churches close in-person services until December 13. This recommendation has provoked widespread frustration amongst those who see this as the governor favoring casinos and abortion centers over churches, which are protected under the 1st Amendment.
“The governor loses moral authority when he suggests that churches should close and casinos remain open,” Nelson said. “He also loses credibility when he shuts down legitimate businesses and gives an open door to a controversial industry that specializes in making Kentuckians lose.”
This continues a stretch of controversial, unilateral decisions from the Executive Branch this week as many legislators released statements against the governor’s actions. Several legislators reported that rather than seeking to work with the legislature, Gov. Beshear met with House and Senate leadership shortly before his public briefing to tell them what his predetermined actions would be. “Kentucky is in a crisis, this is real, and the Governor needs to start consulting with us for the sake of the Commonwealth,” Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said in a statement on Wednesday.
While the Governor is seeking to slow the spread of the virus, he is continuing to spread frustration and financial hardship as a result of his overreach. State Representatives and Senators know their communities better than most and by leaving them out of the decision making process the Governor is ignoring the very people he is seeking to protect.
Richard Nelson is the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Policy Center.