Measure to extend several of Kentucky’s emergency executive orders receives final passage in special session

UPDATED: Seeking to extend several of Kentucky’s emergency executive orders in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky General Assembly granted final passage to House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1 on Tuesday, preserving some emergency executive orders enacted earlier in 2021 by Gov. Andy Beshear.

On the first day of Kentucky’s special legislative session, the House and Senate voted to suspend the rules to waive the requirement that bills and resolutions be read three times on three separate days in each chamber in order to receive final passage. HJR passed the full house by a vote of 92-3, was then received in the Senate, advanced by the Senate State and Local Government Committee, and passed by the Senate Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 32-4.

The measure passed the State Government Committee earlier on Tuesday, where House Speaker David Osborne was joined by Representative Matt Koch and legal counsel to present HJR 1.

“On these executive orders, we are extending them through January 15 of 2022,” Osborne said. “That is to give us time to re-evaluate and potentially extend those emergency orders again once we are back in regular session in January, should we deem it necessary.”

Speaker Osborne said that, while there has been some disagreement between the GOP-controlled legislature and the Democrat-held executive branch, there are several policies on which the two branches are in agreement.

“I think that much of that discussion has been focused on the things we disagree on; whether it be mask mandates, capacity restrictions, or other shutdowns. But, by and large, most of the executive orders were very important, and I think most people are in agreement with them,” Osborne said.

The Speaker of the House pointed to policy items like licensure for healthcare workers and price gouging, as measures that he said “we could all support.”

Osborne said the extensions of the emergency order under House Joint Resolution 1 will also apply to the provisions passed earlier this year in Senate Bill 5 and in SB 150 from the 2020 Session.

Additionally, Speaker Osborne said the resolution will also extend the provisions of the state of emergency that the Governor issued for Nicholas County due to extreme flooding, specifically in the town of Carlisle, that occurred on July 30.

Rep. Koch, whose district encompasses Nicholas County, said the storm peaked when the area saw 5.5 inches of rain in one hour, causing the loss of 30 businesses in the community and significant flood damage to at least 90 residences.

“The FEMA application is still pending,” Koch said. “It’s very important to extend these protections to the people of Nicholas County. They need help.”

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