LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is asking a judge to review whether Gov. Andy Beshear violated a temporary restraining order by directing Kentuckians to wear masks in public places, a 30-day measure that took effect at 5 p.m. Friday.
For now, the governor said his mask requirements remain in effect.
Cameron's office said in a news release that it would file a motion Friday in Scott County Circuit Court asking Judge Brian Privett to review whether Beshear's mask order complies with a restraining order Privett entered Tuesday curbing Beshear's executive power.
"Had the Governor consulted with our office and the leadership of the General Assembly on his order prior to its issuance, this step would have been unnecessary," Cameron, a Republican, said in the news release. "The Governor has refused input on his executive orders, despite offers of assistance. This pattern has led to numerous challenges in court, all of which he has lost."
The attorney general's motion does not question the effectiveness of wearing masks.
"It is my belief that masks are an important tool in fighting this pandemic," Cameron said in the news release.
Beshear, a Democrat, has dismissed Privett's order as "absolutely wrong under the law."
"It's the people of Kentucky versus the coronavirus, and anybody who makes it harder to defeat the coronavirus, that costs lives, that results in people going through significant sickness," Beshear said. "I just wanna do the right thing to help protect our people and I'll go through whatever courts we have to get there."
Beshear on Friday filed an emergency request with the Kentucky Court of Appeals to invalidate Privett's order. The governor also said he put the mask requirements in a parallel emergency administrative regulation that is not subject to Privett's order.
In the emergency appeal, Beshear's side argues that Privett's order unlawfully ties the governor's hands to deal with the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic.
"Kentucky's ability to fight this deadly disease is compromised every second the Scott Circuit Court's order remains in effect," Beshear's appeal said. "... If the lower court's erroneous order stands, Kentucky could face a future like Arizona or Texas, but without the same power and means to address it."
Privett's order says that Beshear, before "issuing or enforcing" any emergency orders related to COVID-19, is required to "state the emergency that requires the order, the location of the emergency, and the name of the local emergency management agency that has determined that the emergency is beyond its capabilities."
Beshear's side argues those requirements are found nowhere in state law.
Privett's order also blocked enforcement of Beshear's coronavirus-related restrictions against any of the 548 "agritourism" businesses registered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
"To be clear, the request we are making to the court today is not about whether or not it is appropriate to wear a mask," Cameron, a possible challenger to Beshear in 2023, said in the news release. "It is my belief that masks are an important tool in fighting this pandemic. It is, however, about determining if the Governor’s executive order mandating mask use follows state law."
In a statement to WDRB News on Friday evening, Cameron's office said, "We are reviewing the regulation that was filed today."