LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Essential businesses vs. non-essential: It may be the difference between surviving and folding during the coronavirus pandemic.
But some Kentucky lawmakers fear waiting too long to open doors again will be a death sentence for many businesses. Moving some of those non-essential businesses to the essential side was a big topic of discussion for lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session Wednesday.
It seemed so Tuesday during Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily news briefing.
“Remember, it’s a public health decision on when and how we can open up,” he said.
A seemingly irked Beshear urged the public to trust medical professionals about the coronavirus over legislators and lobbyists who want to re-open some businesses.
“We’re hoping he won’t veto," Rep. Kevin Bratcher said. The Louisville Republican added that he hopes Beshear will instead work with supporters on the issue. While some consider the idea of re-opening restaurants and businesses as an ill-advised plan, Bratcher said he believes Beshear may be willing to accept leadership-backed Senate Bill 136. That’s because it gives the governor final approval. Any licensed businesses overseen by a board or those that have associations like restaurants could submit re-opening plans under CDC guidelines to the governor every 15 days until the plans are accepted.
“We just can’t be the last at the starting gate,” Bratcher said. "When it’s time to go, we’ve got to be ready to go.”
Even though many medical doctors had to postpone elective surgeries, Bratcher backed an inclusion that would allow chiropractors to see patients without submitting a plan.
“I’ve got GE workers that are back to work," Bratcher said. “They never skipped a beat in my district and they’re saying, ‘Why am I working here at GE factory but I can’t go see my chiropractor?' I’ve got cops saying the same thing, nurses on the floor 18 hours a day who want to make appointments. "
Rep. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said he agrees that chiropractic patients need relief.
“We also have to think about when this (coronavirus) does clear, what’s going to happen?" he said.
McGarvey added that such conversations already are taking place.
“I don’t think the bill does anything that isn’t already happening," he said. “We are having these conversations with the businesses, the governor is having these conversations with businesses who want things to get back open. But we just want to do it in the safest way possible.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, the House was set to vote on the measure, which was expected to pass both the House and Senate. If the Governor vetoes the measure, there’s no time left for lawmakers to override it.