LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Time is running out on Gov. Andy Beshear’s state of emergency for COVID-19, but he and Kentucky's legislative leaders said they’ve had good talks so far about a possible special session to extend that.

What You Need To Know

  • Lawmakers have more of a say on COVID-19 regulations following a Kentucky Supreme Court decision last weekend

  • Gov. Andy Beshear has been negotiating a plan to address the pandemic with Republican legislative leaders this week

  • A judge in Franklin Circuit Court on Thursday delayed ending the governor's COVID-19 state of emergency for at least another 10 days

  • Beshear expects to call a special session to bring lawmakers in to pass new COVID-19 rules, but when that will happen is up in the air

“They’ve been very professional,” House Speaker David Osborne (R-Prospect) said. “And we’ve taken care of business as we’ve needed to.”

Part of that business involves figuring out the court battle: the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Saturday that new limits on Beshear’s emergency power should take effect, but that leaves at least another couple weeks before the Franklin Circuit Court needs to act on the state of emergency.

Lawyers for both Beshear and the legislative leaders asked Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd Thursday for 10 more days to figure out an agreement.

“I think as long as we’re working together and everybody agrees that they want at least the status quo that’s going on right now to stay, then we may have a little more time than just 10 days,” Beshear said. “But I think Judge Shepherd wants to know that we are working, and we are working.”

Both sides seem to agree the emergency order should stay in effect, but mandates are another story.  

Beshear said he would’ve put new restrictions in place after Wednesday’s COVID report, which was the third-highest number of coronavirus cases and 65 deaths.

"Having the third-highest number of cases we’ve ever had and having more than 65 people die, that would’ve been the trigger for me if it was in my authority to have put in a masking order for indoors across the state," Beshear said. "Every other time we’ve been this high, we’ve done that, and it’s worked."

Thursday’s report, which came out after Beshear’s press conference, was the second-highest number of coronavirus cases reported in Kentucky in a single day.

Speaking after a committee meeting at the Kentucky State Fair Thursday, Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said he doesn’t want to see a statewide mask mandate.

“I’m not in favor of blanket policies, but I think there are necessities and times and places where you do have to have policies,” he said. “But maybe at the local level.”

Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) said he wants Republicans, who hold majorities in both chambers of the legislature, to consider statewide protocols.

“I think when the General Assembly comes into a special session, not if, we are going to have to talk about how we best protect public health from state government,” he said. “And local control and local investment can and should be a part of that, but we’re going to have to look at how we protect it from a statewide level.”

The current emergency declaration encompasses more than just mandates; it could also impact federal funding, the ability for out-of-state doctors and nurses to work in Kentucky, price-gouging protections and other measures both the governor and legislative leaders say the don’t want to put into jeopardy.