State Finance Council votes unanimously to extend state of disaster declaration

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas' state of disaster declaration remains in place after the State Finance Council unanimously voted to approve the declaration in their meeting held by conference call Wednesday.

The move comes after Republicans on the council and Governor Kelly agreed to language that states the governor does not intend to close businesses in the state even though she again has the authority to do so.

“We know that we need to get businesses back open if we’re going to, of course keep people employed keep the state tax coughers coming in, services paid for that we need to deliver to citizens so keeping businesses open is really important,” said Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning.

“I think now that we know more about wearing masks and testing that at this point in time there’s absolutely nothing on the horizon that would indicate that Kansas should close businesses.”

Denning said keeping the order in place also keeps courts in the state functioning.

“We have the speedy trial issue to deal with and in the emergency resolution, we postpone the speedy trial issue so that means criminals remain in jail until their court date.”

House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer agrees that keeping the courts afloat throughout the pandemic remains important.

"Because of COVID, everything’s slowed down they don’t have the time so it takes all the statutory dates out so if we didn’t do this there’d be some people that automatically would just be released hardened criminals would just not have a sentence because they wouldn’t be able to meet the statutory timelines. "

Sawyer said he is hopeful about more progress towards normal operations but knows it’ll take time.

“It’s very important that we keep the emergency disaster in place we keep moving forward to try to get the disease under control because we’re not going to get our economy fully back until we get the disease under control and we’ve got to give the administration the tools necessary to do that and this helps do that,” he said.

“One thing I’d like to see done is get to the point where our schools can open entirely safely I think it’s important to get to the point and make sure all of our businesses can operate safely but we’re not there yet.”

Wednesday’s vote keeps the order in place through November 15.

Governor Kelly will need to go before the State Finance Council next month to once again extend the order.

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