For months now, we’ve listened as Gov. Andy Beshear has repeatedly said we need to listen to the scientists in matters regarding COVID-19.
He may say that he has listened to the scientists, and he may have when this broke out last March, but as of late it’s become clear he is often playing politics with this epidemic.
It’s no coincidence that every Republican governor to the South and directly to the west of us are more open; that includes their restaurants, schools and other businesses.
These governors actually get it that you don’t play games with people’s livelihoods and keep kids from going to school. In fact, leading national doctors like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said it is much safer to send children to school where they can safely social distance rather than keeping them at home.
Many parents across this state are outraged at Beshear for essentially shutting down our state right before Thanksgiving. Many of these parents want their kids experiencing in-person learning in their schools. They want their businesses, especially the restaurant businesses, open to the public. They are tired of one man dictating to them and their kids what they can and cannot do.
We as an editorial board join in our fellow citizens’ frustrations at the actions of this governor.
That is why we wholeheartedly support statewide Republicans’ plans to reign Beshear in when they return to Frankfort in January for the legislative session.
Republicans in Frankfort, who now hold supermajorities in both chambers, hope to put limits on the governor’s executive emergency powers.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Lexington, said it best: “I think Kentuckians sent a message on Election Day that they want Republicans to lead and lead with authority and to lead quickly to limit executive branch powers in the time that we’re in. And they are very upset with a lot of decisions made by Gov. Beshear and they want to trim the sails, so to speak, of the executive branch. Not just of this one but all governors in the future.”
GOP lawmakers will consider legislation that includes giving them a place at “the table to discuss when a state of emergency should be extended and for how long it should be extended,” Thayer said.
Legislative leaders have criticized Beshear for not consulting them on virus-related actions.
There have been verified reports that Republicans lawmakers reached out to Beshear’s office during this pandemic to offer opinions and suggestions only to receive no reply from the governor.
Beshear would be wise to begin listening to these elected officials in the House and the Senate because we believe he is going to have no choice after they limit his executive powers, which we believe will happen very early in the session.
No one man should have the power that Beshear does in controlling businesses and people’s lives as he sees fit. Thayer is right. A clear message was sent in November when Republicans expanded their majorities in the House and Senate, and a large part of that message was to reign in this governor and strip him of some of his power that is destroying people’s businesses and keeping their kids out of schools.
We’re glad the Republican-controlled legislature is going to do what it can in reigning this governor in when it convenes in January. It’s the right thing to do for Kentucky’s businesses, Kentucky families and their kids who need to be back in school for the winter session.
We understand this governor and others to follow need the power to respond quickly to emergencies. That power, however, should not be unlimited in scope or duration.
The legislature should have a role to play as well, particularly in a drawn-out crisis like a pandemic.