FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Attorney General of Kentucky has resisted some of the governor’s coronavirus orders to impose travel and gathering restrictions, including services.
Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron has threatened to file a lawsuit against democratic governor Andy Beshear’s ban on rallies, unless personal services are allowed to resume.
“Simply put, the current ban on personal services is unconstitutional in this office’s view,” Cameron said at a press conference Tuesday. “I am reminded every time I drive past a large store and see dozens of cars.”
However, Cameron emphasized that he was not campaigning for an immediate resumption of the personal service. He was confident that the faith leaders would follow the instructions of health professionals when it was appropriate to restart these services.
Beshear reiterated on Tuesday that his orders to gather masses do not pick out the churches.
He noted that people have found alternative ways to practice their beliefs – through virtual or drive-in services – while taking action to prevent the virus from spreading.
“Guys, I’m not trying to set rules that are difficult, and I’m not trying to set rules that are controversial,” said the governor at his daily coronavirus briefing. “I’m just trying to set rules that save people’s lives.”
Beshear recently ordered Kentucky State Police officers to record the license plates of everyone who attended a mass gathering on Easter weekend. Local health authorities were advised to enforce a 14-day quarantine for all participants.
A church in Bullitt County opposed the order and sued the governor. A federal judge denied the church’s motion for an injunction that blocked the enforcement of Beshear’s order.
In the meantime, Cameron filed a motion with the federal court claiming that Beshear’s restrictions on travel outside the state were unconstitutional. The Attorney General requested that he be the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the restrictions on non-essential travel outside the state.
“If the governor wants to urge the Kentuckians to give up their constitutional right to travel freely in the fight against COVID-19, such a restriction needs to be closely coordinated,” Cameron said. “The wide scope of his travel ban, if left unchecked, creates a dangerous precedent.”
The governor said the travel restrictions are aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. Beshear’s order allows you to cross state borders for work or food, provide for relatives, receive medical care, or when required by a court order.
Beshear noted on Tuesday that he had won preliminary judgments against the general assembly and travel restrictions. Beshear, the former attorney general, said these early decisions signaled that judges “are likely to decide that everything we did is legal.”
He said he would not get into a political fight over his virus-related actions.
“I’m not worried about what decisions will help or harm me politically or help or harm others,” said Beshear. “I just want to get through this by losing as few people as possible.”
Last Saturday, people gathered at the State Capitol to protest Beshear’s restrictions. They also asked Cameron to challenge the governor’s actions more aggressively.
In the meantime, Beshear reported 230 more coronavirus cases in Kentucky on Tuesday, bringing the nationwide total to at least 4,375 since the pandemic began. The governor reported 12 more virus-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in Kentucky to at least 224. More than 1,610 people in Kentucky have recovered from the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that go away within weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, this can lead to more serious illnesses and even death.