Days appear numbered for statewide mask mandates

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 9:06 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Statewide mask mandates are under fire as the Republican-dominated state legislature gets to work in a special session.

Anti-mask demonstrators carried signs and chanted their support for eliminating mask mandates as legislative leadership predicted the special session called by Gov. Andy Beshear would be over in matter of days, with one likely outcome.

“That you will not have the ability of a governor to declare a statewide mask mandate,” Senate President Robert Stivers said.

Beshear’s hope for a special session with “low drama” appeared unlikely as GOP lawmakers prepared to act after months of frustration and outrage over shutdowns and mask mandates.

”We heard from constituents whose churches were locked out,” Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said. “We saw the pictures of state police citing people on Easter Sunday for going to church.”

Democrats lack the numbers to block or even slow down a variety of bills fast-tracked for approval. Their strategy is to keep lawmakers mindful of the urgency the virus is causing across the state.

“There are tents outside the hospital in Pikeville,” Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said. “The mayor of Morehead said it looks like something out of a horror movie. This is out of control right now. We need to make sure we keep people safe. “

”It’s not red and blue,” Beshear said. “It’s not a Democrat and Republican. It’s a virus that wants to kill as many of us as possible.”

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