Gov. Kelly calls out legislature after long last day of session

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Lawmakers voted to limit the powers Governor Laura Kelly has during a state of emergency.

The bill that passed just before 8 o’clock Friday morning gives legislative leaders oversight on whether the governor can extend the current state of emergency during the coronavirus pandemic. That could impact the state’s reopening plan.

The bill still needs to head to Kelly’s desk. There, the governor can veto it, sign it, or let it become law without her signature.

Kelly said she will thoroughly review the bill, weighing the pros and cons.

Lawmakers delayed a vote on the bill for nearly 24 hours after gaveling in Thursday morning.
Kelly said the day shouldn’t have gone that way.

“It was an unprecedented and outstanding demonstration of the dysfunction of our legislature, unlike anything I saw in my years serving in the state Senate,” Kelly said. “There’s no way to reflect what happened in the Kansas Legislature without how partisan politics motivated everything that transpired. Legislative leaders make no secret yesterday that their actions were politically motivated.”

Kelly said the process that was used isn’t the right way to get good bills passed.

“I also wish that this had not been the most embarrassing, irresponsible display of governing that we have witnessed throughout this ordeal,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately what happened in the Kansas Legislature yesterday was simply indefensible from start to finish and there is no way for me to sugarcoat that for the people of Kansas.”

When asked what the emergency powers bill would have to do to ensure a veto, Kelly simply said, “put the people of Kansas at risk.”

Kelly will now wait for the bill to arrive at her desk. It extends the state of emergency to the end of May. If Kelly vetoes it, the date would go back to the end of the day on May 26.

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