FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear took executive action Thursday to activate the state's price gouging laws, touting it as a consumer protection measure amid sky-high gas prices straining Kentuckians' budgets.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to gas prices hovering close to $5 per gallon. With his action, Kentucky consumers can report suspected price gouging at the pump to Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office.

Beshear said “every little bit helps” in trying to buffer consumers from increasing fuel prices.

Cameron responded by urging Kentuckians to alert his office about any signs of price gouging.

But the issue reflected the political tension between the Democratic governor and the Republican attorney general, who is running for Beshear's job in next year's election.

In a recent letter to Beshear, Cameron blamed the energy policies of Democratic President Joe Biden's administration for the nation's high fuel prices.

Cameron bluntly told Beshear that issuing a state of emergency would offer “minimal — if any — additional relief” to Kentuckians. But he pledged to fully enforce the price gouging laws.

Beshear offered a public reply at his weekly news conference Thursday.

“I believe strongly that even minimal relief is better than no relief,” the governor said.

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