UPDATED WITH SENATE INFO: Lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that would do away with any statewide mask mandates and establish new ways for Kentuckians to be treated and tested for COVID-19.
House Bill 2, sponsored by Rep. Steven Rudy and presented by Rep. Kim Moser, would do away with two emergency regulations dealing with masking, making them unenforceable while also prohibiting statewide mask mandates moving forward.
Additionally, the legislation would task the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) with assisting and establishing additional COVID-19 antibody administration centers throughout the Commonwealth and develop protocols for appropriate criteria and administration of COVID-19 treatments, including any FDA-approved treatments. The legislation requires at least one center in each area development district region.
CHFS will also support hospitals and other healthcare providers obtain sufficient COVID tests and help smaller facilities secure COVID vaccines, as well as partner with Kentucky colleges and universities to do PSAs and other communications to ensure people are getting accurate information on COVID-19, vaccines, and more.
Flexibility for staffing in hospitals and long-term care facilities is provided in the bill by allowing paramedics to work in facilities under the direction of the proper personnel and extends some of the provisions in House Bill 276 allowing long-term care facilities to hire personal care employees.
On Wednesday, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed their version of the bill through the Senate Health & Welfare Committee. Senate Bill 2, the legislation sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, passed through that committee with a 7-2 vote.
Several floor amendments have been filed to the bill that limit employers’ rights regarding vaccinations.
Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for more updates on the special session.