Andy Beshear

J. Tyler Franklin

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled a new energy strategy for the state Wednesday without mentioning climate change, its impacts or goals to curb carbon emissions.

The strategy focuses on promoting “all of Kentucky’s energy resources” in order to power and promote growth for a more resilient economy with an emphasis on production, manufacturing and transportation, according to the strategy document.

“The Commonwealth has and will remain an energy hub powering the nation while manufacturing goods for the global marketplace,” Beshear said during the virtual conference on energy and the environment.   

The plan, dubbed “E3” for energy, environment and economic development, used words that nod to the impacts of climate change, but never actually mentions the elephant in the room, or any serious plans to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky has surpassed 9,000 COVID-19 deaths.

“That’s more than we’ve lost in any modern war, in any two of them put together,” said Gov. Andy Beshear at a Thursday news conference.

The highest concentration of deaths from coronavirus has been, overwhelmingly, in unvaccinated people since the vaccine became widely available.

Beshear said that 72% of eligible Kentuckians have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, but that is not enough to stop the delta variant.

He also touched on the number of children currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that he’s filed the initial paperwork to run for a second term as Kentucky’s governor.

Beshear defeated incumbent Republican Matt Bevin in 2019 after a close election. He took office in December 2019, and the first coronavirus case in Kentucky was announced just a few months later. Beshear has been tussling with the GOP-led legislature on gubernatorial emergency powers since then

So far, only state auditor Mike Harmon has filed to run against him as a Republican, though second-term Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Knight Craft and state Sen. Max Wise have been mentioned as potential challengers.

Kentucky COVID-19 Cases See Slight Decline

Sep 28, 2021
Gov. Andy Beshear YouTube Channel

The latest COVID-19 surge in Kentucky has hit hospitals hard. Doctors from around the state have reported that capacity issues far exceed previous surges. 

But on Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear reported that cases have declined for three weeks. So have hospital rates. 

“Next one, we hope continues at this rate, that’s the inpatient census. That is the real decline we have to see with our hospitals hit as hard as they have been,” Beshear said. 

But he said the numbers are still too high and continue creating issues for hospitals. 

Beshear announced the federal government will send teams of nurses to administer monoclonal antibody treatments. A map of locations with the COVID treatment will be available later this week.

Exponential COVID Case Growth Slows In Kentucky

Sep 24, 2021
J. Tyler Franklin

The exponential increase in new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky has begun to slow and is showing signs the state may be headed for a plateau. 

Gov. Andy Beshear struck a tone of cautious optimism during his weekly Team Kentucky update Thursday, hopeful the state will see a decline in new cases, and concerned a plateau would continue to cause too much strain on hospitals and staff.

“It’s overall good news but we are still in a very dangerous situation is how I would describe it,” Beshear said. “You’ve got to stop growing before you can start shrinking but we really need to start shrinking a whole lot faster.”

The number of people in the hospital for COVID-19 has started to trend downward, though there are still a high number of COVID patients in intensive care units and on ventilators. At least 21 children are currently hospitalized with the virus.

Stephanie Wolf

A surge of COVID-19 patients across the state and country might mean rationing of a coronavirus treatment in Kentucky.

Monoclonal antibodies have proven to be among the most effective treatments for COVID-19. As more people become hospitalized with COVID, the demand for the treatment has steadily increased, and the federal government has decided to ration it.

Governor Andy Beshear estimated the state will receive 4,500 treatments a week under the new guidelines. Last week, the commonwealth used over 5,000 treatments. Beshear says it’s unlikely the state has the supplies needed to make up the difference.

“Doctors are gonna have to use other things that haven’t proven to be as good as this treatment,” said Beshear. “They are gonna have to look at individuals and make the tough decisions about who gets the best medication and who doesn’t.”

Stephanie Wolf

When Gov. Andy Beshear called a special legislative session on COVID-19, he clearly outlined goals to fight the pandemic in Kentucky. 

Some of those items passed, including an extension of the state of emergency. But as predicted, masking was a point of contention — and in the end, the Republican-led legislature passed a bill reversing the Kentucky Department of Education’s mask mandate.

“The legislature owns this pandemic moving forward,” Beshear said at a Friday press conference, during which he relayed his frustration with state lawmakers.

Senate Bill 1 places the onus on individual school districts and their superintendents to decide whether masks are required in classrooms.

J. Tyler Franklin

Last week marked an unwanted distinction for Kentucky. The state broke records for daily case count, and the number of people hospitalized, in the ICU and on ventilators. 

The strain on the state’s health care workers is growing more extreme.

At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that 62 out of the 96 hospitals in the state were experiencing critical staff shortages.

“And what I believe it means is that not only do you know you don’t have enough staff, but you are terribly worried about the next day and what that can mean,” Beshear said. “It certainly means that you don’t have enough staff for the entire capacity.”

LRC Public Information

Kentucky lawmakers are working with Gov. Andy Beshear to come up with a possible agenda for a special legislative session on coronavirus.

Even though Republican lawmakers worked to restrict Beshear’s powers earlier this year, the party’s leaders in the legislature say they want to preserve some public health policies put in place by the Democratic governor, though they aren’t saying which ones yet.

House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican from Prospect, said several legislators are currently reviewing a list of pandemic priorities sent over by the governor.

“We will develop those plans over the next several days. I would expect that as the governor said, when we are ready, he would call us in to take action,” Osborne said.

screenshot

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and leaders of the Republican-led legislature are negotiating exactly how to dissolve a court ruling that blocked new laws limiting the governor’s powers.

The development means Kentucky’s state of emergency related to the coronavirus will remain in effect until Beshear and Republican lawmakers tell Franklin Circuit Court how they’d like to move forward.

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last weekend that the lower court incorrectly blocked the laws earlier this year, which include a measure restricting Beshear’s emergency orders to 30 days unless renewed by the legislature. The high court ordered Franklin Circuit Court to dissolve its injunction.

But during a status conference on Thursday, lawyers for Beshear and GOP Senate President Robert Stivers asked for 10 days to come up with an agreed plan before the court vacates the ruling.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear is considering calling a special legislative session after the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of new laws limiting his emergency powers last weekend.

A lower court had blocked those laws from going into effect earlier this year, including a measure restricting Beshear’s emergency orders to 30 days unless renewed by the legislature.

But once Franklin Circuit Court lifts its block on the new laws, most of Beshear’s orders will expire, including the official state of emergency declared by the governor in March 2020. It’s unclear when Franklin Circuit will do that, but a hearing on the case is scheduled for Thursday morning.

That has Beshear and some lawmakers worried Kentucky will lose millions of dollars in federal funding and other resources tied to the emergency declaration.

Gov. Beshear: Kentucky Reaches COVID-19 Record-Highs

Aug 24, 2021
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s health care facilities face staff and space shortages as the delta variant causes COVID-19 cases to skyrocket. 

On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear reported the pandemic’s highest number of hospitalized patients, statewide – 1,893. The state also reached record high numbers for residents in intensive care units, 529, and hooked up to ventilators, 301.

“Here we are, at a time when we have vaccines, when we know that masks work, with our third highest week of cases ever, and the highest positivity,” Beshear said. “COVID is burning through our population here in Kentucky.”

Steve Haines is the nursing director of critical care services at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville. He described the latest wave of the pandemic as horrific.

Stephanie Wolf

The Kentucky Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a lower court shouldn’t have blocked new laws that limit Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers during the pandemic. The order is not an overall ruling on their constitutionality, though.

Beshear filed a lawsuit in February after the state legislature passed several measures limiting his emergency powers, including a bill restricting the governor’s emergency orders to 30 days unless renewed by the legislature, and one allowing businesses and schools to ignore state emergency regulations as long as they follow CDC guidelines.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments over the case earlier this summer.

The decision means Beshear’s challenge to those laws will go back to Franklin Circuit Court, with an order for the lower court to no longer block the laws from going into effect. The court had put a temporary injunction on the laws.

Corrine Boyer

Republicans are criticizing Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s school mask mandate as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread across the state and kids are returning to school.

Beshear issued an executive order on Tuesday requiring all students, staff and visitors to wear masks in Kentucky public schools.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron is challenging Beshear’s actions. He filed a motion with the Kentucky Supreme Court arguing the governor’s order ignores new laws passed by the legislature that limit his emergency powers.

“The Governor does not have to choose between following the science and following the law,” Cameron wrote in a statement. “The two can and should work together. If he believes that the science requires a statewide mask mandate for schools and childcare centers, then he needs to do what the law requires and work with the General Assembly to put the necessary health precautions in place.”

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear says he’s signing a new executive order Tuesday that will require all students, staff and visitors at K-12 schools and preschools to wear a mask. 

The order will apply to both private and public schools, for everyone aged two and up.

“I’m gonna have the courage to do what I know is right,” Beshear said during Tuesday’s press briefing. “This is how we make sure we protect our children, but this is also how we make sure that they stay in school.”

In defending his decision, the governor pointed to rising hospitalizations due to the delta variant of COVID-19. Experts say the delta variant is causing more infection among children than the original COVID-19 virus and some children have ended up in the ICU. He also noted that several districts that started the school year without mandates have already had to institute mass quarantines.

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