Kentucky state lawmakers vote to scrap school mask mandate

Kentucky state lawmakers vote to scrap school mask mandate
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Kentucky state legislators have voted to scrap a statewide mask mandate in public schools, The Associated Press reported.

The legislation would nullify the state school board's requirement that people wear masks in public schools and in child-care centers to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

The GOP-led state legislature passed the bill in a special session that was called by Gov. Andy Beshear (D), according to the AP. 

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The legislature also voted to pass a measure that would prohibit any statewide mask mandates, leaving it up to local governments and businesses to impose their own, and another one that will appropriate $69 million in federal funds to help with pandemic efforts. 

State Sen. Reggie Thomas (D)  told the newswire that the proposed legislation is a “life-and-death bill,” saying its puts more children and school personnel at severe risk of contracting the virus. 

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Max Wise (R), said the bill would give back power to districts who will now make the decisions that are best for their community, the AP reported. 

“What we’re looking to do here is a fair and flexible method that superintendents can get behind."

The bill will head to Beshear’s desk. The AP noted Republicans have enough votes to override a potential veto of the measure.  

Kentucky is going through another wave of COVID-19 infections in the state due in part to the highly contagious delta variant. 

President BidenJoe BidenCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Manchin seeks 'adjustments' to spending plan MORE announced Thursday that all private employers with 100 or more employees will be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations and daily testing and will require vaccines for federal workers and contractors as well. 

Beshear noted that only 90 adult ICU beds are still available statewide and two-thirds of Kentucky hospitals are facing dire shortages, the AP reported. 

“Our hospital situation has never been more dire in my lifetime than it is right now,” he said.