Ky. Senate president responds to Gov. Beshear’s comment about special session results
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s Senate president is responding to comments from Governor Beshear after last week’s special session ended.
Lawmakers voted to hand control of masks to school systems and prevent any more statewide mask mandates from coming out of Frankfort.
Sen. Robert Stivers said the legislature simply acted on what the Supreme Court agreed with.
Stivers started out his Friday morning news conference by saying he thinks the vaccine needs to be taken by all. He said it’s not a Republican or a Democrat thing, it’s a public health thing.
However, Stivers says he takes issue with Gov. Beshear saying they punted on first down.
Stivers said the governor was running out the clock and cited the Supreme Court’s decisions some of which overruled lower court court decisions or that agreed with decisions that allowed more local decisions with COVID-19.
He said, whereas they gave the mask decision back to local school systems, most have chosen to keep them anyway.
“Why do you say we have punted when virtually all school systems to continue the mask mandate?” said Stivers. “We felt that it would be better for local people to make local decisions. We didn’t punt anything.”
“We kept it from harming more people than it had to, but guess what, this surge, the legislature wanted to be in charge of,” Gov. Beshear said. “Says we can’t use the second best tool that we have, which is masking.”
Stivers said he believes that Gov. Beshear was more interested in litigating in court than in working with the legislature. He says the state has nearly $2 billion it can spend right now in budget reserves for health care, but claims the governor’s office isn’t willing to move forward.
“We heard a lot in that press conference that simply is not true,” Gov. Beshear said in response. “We have had multiple meetings with President Stivers when they asked for him. We didn’t have extra money in the rescue plan. We used every dollar that was available.”
Stivers said there was talk of a possibly having another special session that would last just one day to go over money for health care.
Sen. Stivers said, while he disagrees with how the governor has handled these parts of the pandemic response, he says he agrees getting the vaccine is the number one solution.
Stivers also said he believes the state’s public health department needs to do more with monoclonal antibody treatment.
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