State Finance Council extends Emergency Declaration
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — The Kansas State Finance Council voted to extend the state’s emergency disaster declaration for the coronavirus crisis by 30 days, but with added language to make it clear the governor does not plan another mass shutdown.
“We’ve heard from our business communities and others that another shut down by the governor would be catastrophic to small businesses, businesses owners across the state, and catastrophic to businesses Kansans are counting on,” said House of Representatives Speaker, Ron Ryckman.
The current state disaster declaration was set to expire on September 15, but with a unanimous vote Friday afternoon it will be extended through October 15.
The first round of voting on the measure failed when all six Republican lawmakers passed on their vote, not giving them the majority for it to pass.
Several of them took issue with the language of the bill saying that the governor still has the authority to shut down businesses.
After the Finance Council took two different recess periods to allow Governor Kelly and her administration to reconstruct the language of the declaration, they came to a unanimous agreement to extend the emergency declaration.
“We’re all on different ends of the spectrum and we were all heading to no, which would have been very bad for the state and all of the domino effects. When you start out at hell no and end up with a unanimous vote that’s a good day and that’s how it worked today,” said Senator Jim Denning.
The vote came after a contentious meeting. The new language says the Governor has the authority to close businesses under the Kansas Emergency Management Act, but she has no intention to use her authority to close businesses.
According to Governor Kelly, the declaration allows departments to provide needed assistance to Kansans during the pandemic. She gave examples like funding for community-based testing, provide shelters with food and first responders with personal protective equipment.
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