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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at the University of Louisville Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, in April. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Gov. Andy Beshear is calling Kentucky's GOP-led legislature into a special session next week on policies to address surging COVID-19 cases in the state.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor had imposed a series of emergency pandemic measures, but the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last month that a lower court had incorrectly blocked state Republicans from limiting his executive authority.

  • This paved the way for moving such policy decision-making to the legislature.

The big picture: The governor worked with the General Assembly to call the session for Tuesday.

  • Beshear is asking lawmakers to consider legislation to extend the state of emergency until Jan. 15, 2022, as "cases increase at the fastest growth rate of the pandemic," driven by the Delta variant, per a statement from his office Saturday.
  • He's also asking them to consider "setting forth the criteria" regarding his "authority to require facial coverings in indoor settings in certain circumstances" and for other virus mitigation and prevention efforts — including testing and vaccine distribution, according to the statement.

What they're saying: State House Speaker David Osborne (R) said in a statement that while lawmakers were yet to agree on "the specific language of the legislation we will consider, we are continuing discussions and have agreed it is in the best interests of our commonwealth to move forward with the call," per AP.

By the numbers: The coronavirus has killed more than 7,840 Kentuckians in the past 18 months, including 69 people on Thursday and Friday, according to the governor's office.

  • "We also have record numbers of Kentuckians in the hospital (2,365), in intensive care (661) and on ventilators (425)," the statement noted. "The positivity rate Friday was 13.17%."

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

Oct 20, 2021 - Health

In-N-Out refuses to follow San Francisco's vaccine mandate

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

The California burger chain In-N-Out is refusing to follow San Francisco's vaccination mandate, which requires restaurants to check for customers' proof of vaccination to dine indoors, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The San Francisco Public Health Department has had to remind employees multiple times to check for proof of vaccination since September, ultimately resulting in the city's only In-N-Out location getting shut down on Oct. 14. It is the only time the agency has ordered a restaurant's closure over a mandate violation, officials told the Post.

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.