Controversial Kansas law brought before KS Supreme Court

Midday in Kansas
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 12:08 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A controversial Kansas law that has been used to sue school district’s over mask policies was brought before the Kansas Supreme Court Tuesday morning.

The high court met virtually to hear arguments on the constitutionality of Senate Bill 40, enacted March 25, 2021.

The bill was used in several lawsuits last school year by parents seeking exemptions from districts requiring their children wear masks in school.

The case at the center of Tuesday’s hearing involved a lawsuit filed by Kristin Butler and Scott Bozarth against the Shawnee Mission School District. A Johnson County District Court judge ruled against the parents and declared SB 40 as “unconstitutional” and “unenforceable” because it was not within the law’s timeline.

The judge also questioned a provision in SB 40 that requires a hearing to be held within 72 hours of a complaint and relief granted to the plaintiff if the court misses the deadline.

Since the state of emergency had expired, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office argued before the court Tuesday that the district court should not have moved forward.

“The statute on which the district court ruled had expired on its own terms, June 15th, a month before the district court rendered its decision,” Brant Laue said. “It’s a core concept of jurisdiction ability that courts do not decide moot issues, particularly moot constitutional issues.”

The Kansas Supreme Court hearing was argument only, no word yet on when a final ruling will be made. However, a decision on this issue could impact other lawsuits invoking SB 40.

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