State of emergency extended, lawmakers say Kansas isn’t ready to return to normal yet

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – After months of arguing, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree, Kansas is, and needs to stay, in a state of emergency.

Some lawmakers have been working to restrict how much power governor has, now they’re on the same page. The main goal is to keep people safe.

“There will be certain members of our caucus that want it to just go away and return to normal. We all want that, but the epidemic is not ready for that,” Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said.

Kansas lawmakers unanimously voted to extend the state of emergency. Last month lawmakers made sure to included a caveat to protect businesses from closure.

“The governor, all along, verbally told us that she had no intention of shutting businesses down, even though the emergency resolution clearly gives her that authority. She told us several times verbally that she had no intention. We wanted her to simply put it into the resolution,” Denning said.

The extension of the order also allows the state to help counties.

“Providing federal funds to make sure we get the testing we need, and the masks, and all of the different things we need,” House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer said. “We need that emergency order in place, so I think it’s real important, and we also need it in case things do get worse.”

Sawyer said the state can’t let up yet. He said he hopes extensions will lead the state to a place of recovery.

“We got to get those numbers way down. It’s got to get to the point where we’re not getting new hospitalizations in a week, or new cases,” Sawyer said. “Until we can get those numbers down, then we got to keep doing what we’re doing.”

The order will now extend to November 15. Then lawmakers will decide whether to extend it for another 30 days.

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