Gov. Kelly calls legislators to return for special session

Capitol Bureau
Kansas Capitol, Statehouse_401818

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Four days after lawmakers left Topeka, Governor Laura Kelly is calling them back to the Kansas Capitol.

On Tuesday, the governor announced a special legislative session to determine what to do about emergency powers and the state of emergency during the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers are set to return on Wednesday, June 3.

“The legislature must come back, stop playing politics, and extend the deadline of the new declaration,” Kelly said. “If the legislature fails to act, the results will be disastrous to cities and counties. We are not likely to get a third shot at getting this right.”

The governor announced that she is declaring a state of emergency for 15 days. The current state of emergency would have ended Tuesday night.

She also made changes to the state’s reopening plan that will make the phasing-in process guidelines instead of rules for the whole state to follow. Local governments can impose what restrictions they would like to see.

“I know that allowing each county to set its own guidance will likely be confusing to the public, unfortunately this is a direct result of the legislature’s unfortunate actions last week,” Kelly said.

Senate President Susan Wagle said she believes the governor’s veto is a win for legislators that wanted to keep the governor’s powers in check.

“Essentially what has just happened in this press conference is the governor has conceded,” Wagle said. “We’re very pleased, it was our goal to kick this back to local communities, to local counties where they can determine what’s best for them.

The legality of Kelly’s new state of emergency is in question, but Wagle said she doesn’t want to end up in the courts.

“We’re not talking about lawsuit, we want to get back to work, we want to open businesses safely, we want to keep Kansans protected from the virus, and we want to get back to life as normal, clearly our kids want to get outside and play baseball,” Wagle said.

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