Legislative Coordinating Council rejects statewide mask mandate

Coronavirus

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Legislative Coordinating Council voted 5-2 to revoke Gov. Laura Kelly’s new mask order she issued on Thursday. Kansas now has no statewide mask order.

Speaker Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) and Majority Leader Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) and Speaker ProTem Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa) issued a statement using decreasing coronavirus numbers to justify abandoning a mask mandate.

“Public health mandates should be short-term, data-driven and reserved only for pressing emergency situations. They should not be used to dictate Kansans’ daily lives year after year. If data is the real driver behind the Governor’s approach, then let’s rely on the numbers. In November, the Governor issued her last statewide mask mandate saying there was a “worrying spike” in cases. At that time, Kansas had 5,217 new cases and a 7-day average of 2,430 new cases. Now, Kansas has only 36 new cases and a 7-day average of 216 cases.”

Ron Ryckman & Dan Hawkins

The House Republicans cited dropping case numbers and a preference for local control.

The governor issued several executive orders on Thursday in connection to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Kelly says it is to ensure Kansas can maintain critical pandemic response efforts to keep Kansans healthy, keep businesses open, and keep kids in school.

“Since the pandemic began, my administration has been laser-focused on supporting and protecting our communities and our economy,” Kelly said in a news release.“Extending these orders will ensure that our efforts will not have been wasted, and that Kansans and businesses don’t lose the resources they need to get back to normal.” 

The orders Governor Kelly issued today extend provisions put in place by previous executive orders and include some updated provisions. The full list is below.

Several executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic were set to expire yesterday in conjunction with the expiration of the state of disaster emergency. Senate Bill 40 includes a provision that revoked all executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday, but the Governor retains the authority to re-issue orders under the new process imposed by the bill.

The Governor today issued the following orders, which will generally remain in effect until rescinded or until the statewide state of disaster emergency expires, whichever is earlier:

The Legislative Coordinating Council didn’t take action on the above executive orders issued Thursday.

The Shawnee County Commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to enforce a mask mandate for the Shawnee County Health Department and the Shawnee County Department of Corrections. Shawnee County Courts will continue to require masks.

Shawnee County will continue to recommend masks, but businesses can “opt out” if they choose.

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