Gov. Kelly to Sign New Emergency Declaration; Unveil Reopening Plan Thursday

Joe Denoyer - April 29, 2020 8:59 pm

Gov. Laura Kelly plans to issue a new emergency declaration that will extend her enhanced powers to direct Kansas’s pandemic response.

Kelly will also reveal her plan to reopen the state in a televised speech Thursday evening at 6:30. She has signaled she will begin relaxing restrictions on Monday as a growing number of governors move forward with reopening their states.

The new emergency declaration comes as the current one, issued in March, is set to expire May 1. The Legislature, which could have extended it, is currently adjourned amid concerns legislators can’t meet safely.

The declaration has allowed Kelly to exercise extraordinary powers to respond to the coronavirus. She has closed school buildings, prohibited some evictions and foreclosures and waived regulations on telemedicine – in addition to prohibiting mass gatherings.

Most controversially, the governor limited in-person religious services to 10 people. Two churches have sued to block the order, and a federal judge is temporarily allowing the churches to hold larger gatherings.

The new declaration will be valid for 15 days. At that point, the State Finance Council will be able to extend it an additional 30 days. The council is made up of key legislators and chaired by the governor.

The Legislature would need to approve any additional extensions, Kelly said.


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