Bills to limit governor’s emergency powers move forward

The Kentucky General Assembly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate have each passed bills designed to take some emergency powers from the governor and give it to themselves.

House Bill 1 would allow any business, organization, local government, school and school district to reopen and remain open, as long as it follows a pandemic response plan that meets or exceeds guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those plans must also be conspicuously posted on the main entrance and website of the business.

HB1 also suspends interest and penalties on unpaid unemployment insurance.

The bill passed the House by a 73-15 margin and now heads to the Senate.

Senate Bill 1, meanwhile, would limit any executive orders issued by the governor during a state of emergency to 30 days, unless extended by the legislature. The time limit would not apply to orders regarding price gouging and emergency distribution of prescriptions.

SB1 passed the Senate by a vote of 27-9, with one abstention. It is now under consideration by the House.