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Ky. legislature overrides governor veto of bills restricting statewide mask mandates

Kentucky capitol
Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 10, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Late Thursday night, Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 1 and 2, which placed restrictions on the state's ability to impose mask mandates on local school districts and other jurisdictions. The Senate quickly overrode the veto, however; the House agreed, and both bills will now become law.

SB1 eliminates the public school mask mandate that was put in place by the Kentucky Board of Education. The bill also gives schools more flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would give schools 20 flexible remote learning days and create a "test-to-stay" program, so they can test out of quarantine. Students who are exposed to COVID-19 can stay in school as long as they continue to test negative each day.

State Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, sponsored the bill. He says the bill gives local school districts the ability to choose whether or not they want to require masks.

SB2, sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, bans a statewide mask mandate of any kind through 2023.

In the veto message, the governor notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kentucky Department of Public Health, and every local health department in Kentucky as sources that support the use of facial coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Andy Beshear did go on to sign Senate Bill 3 and 5.

Senate Bill 3

SB3 was also sponsored by Stivers. The bill would direct the use of $69,268,300 of the American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal Recovery funds in the fiscal year 2021-2022 to address the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting pressures that have been experienced in the healthcare, long-term care, and school systems.

Senate Bill 5

SB5 was sponsored by Senator Julie Raque Adams ( R ), Senator Damon Thayor ( R). The bill is for funding programs and projects for economic development projects with a minimum of $2 billion.