Commonwealth Policy Center

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is very contagious, and the positivity rate in Kentucky has increased from 2% to over 8% in the past month. In response, Gov. Beshear is once again mandating masks for all state employees. But four state agencies, led by elected Republicans, have refused to enforce the new rule. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said, “Our people have Kentucky common sense and are more likely to be persuaded by reason than by threats or mandates.” State Auditor Mike Harmon cited the vaccine and social distancing measures as reasons why he won’t enforce the mandate in his office. The same for State Treasurer Allison Ball and House and Senate leaders. Governor Beshear’s influence is diminishing, and he’s learning that failed cooperation with other Kentucky leaders is coming back to haunt his ability to lead.