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Mask Rule Governing By 'Edict,' Beshear Critics Argue

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AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
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Gov. Andy Beshear's mask mandate, set to begin Friday evening, drew swift pushback from GOP leaders, worried about executive overreach and further damage to the economy.

"It's no longer voluntary. It's mandatory." The announcement was bound to sit uneasily with lawmakers and statewide officers who already consider the governor's actions too unilateral.

In a letter signed by Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Senate President Robert Stivers, and House Speaker David Osborne, the GOP leaders  took Beshear to task for putting forth an order "by edict rather than through collaboration." The authors say the governor could have avoided court challenges against his orders if he had invited more input from stakeholders.

One of those lawsuits, which resulted in a temporary injunction blocking the state's ability to enforce coronavirus safety measures in nearly 550 agritourism sites, was backed by Republican State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. Quarles released a statement saying the suit was not personal or political. Instead, he argued the court challenge was about fairness for smaller businesses the he said haven't been treated the same as larger, more well-connected industries.

Beshear has countered that, without his administration's orders and public support, the state would be seeing even bigger outbreaks of COVID-19.

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