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Kentucky lawmakers battle over mask use at state Capitol

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 11:10 AM CST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Some members of the Kentucky legislature have raised concerns after an orientation where some members were reportedly not wearing masks.

The meeting in question was for newly elected members of the General Assembly. According to some members of the Democratic caucus, few of the newly elected Republicans were wearing masks.

House Democrats sent out a statement saying they were outraged and called on Republican House and Senate leaders to enforce the public health rules they established that require all the Capital Annex visitors to wear masks.

But Senate President Robert Stivers responded in saying they consistently and emphatically encourage members to follow safety protocols but ended that statement with a rebuke of the governor’s mandates:

“We have consistently and emphatically encouraged members of the General Assembly to follow protocols to that ensure the safety and health of colleagues and staff, and will continue to do so. However, I am equally shocked, stunned, and outraged by the lack of criticism by the minority caucuses with regard to the Governor’s blatant disregard for the guidance of those professionals he claims to follow. Our schools should be open according to the CDC, UNICEF, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Fauci himself who all agree that the safest place for our children to be during this pandemic is in school. The minority caucuses also do not respond when the Governor spends $80 million on a contact tracing program that he admits is ineffective and cannot produce usable data. It’s time for some consistency.”

House minority leader Joni Jenkins that all need to be taken into context.

“But the quote they are using from Dr. Fauci is out of context,” said Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively. “He said the safest place for kids with a low incidence is the schools. And I think that’s a 3 percent positivity rate. We are at 10 percent.”

Jenkins says she is very concerned since the legislative session starts in January. She believes the session can take place safely, though, with some members voting from their offices. She also says she believes, for the most part, that the general public is following the mask mandate from what she sees when out in public.

None of the Senate Republican leaders wanted to talk on camera and we have not heard from the House Republican leadership.

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