AG Schmidt offers opinion on legislative battle in State House

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a statement regarding the COVID-19 relief bill that was approved in the Legislature during an overnight session on the last night of the season.

“Many Kansans are eager to get back to work, to provide for their families, to send their children back to school – to return to a sense of normalcy, and to do it safely,” says Schmidt. “Kansans have risen to this COVID-19 challenge and sacrificed for the health and safety of their fellow citizens, and now is the time to move from the initial emergency response to a sustained and cautious recovery effort. Having now preliminarily reviewed the COVID-19 relief bill passed by the Legislature, I consider it a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to fixing many specific problems that need immediate attention.”

Schmidt says that the bill does not reduce the state’s ability to care for and protect the safety of Kansans. The bill will require important decisions be made through bipartisan efforts, even while the Legislator is adjourned. The Attorney General also says that checks and balances like this are already required for animal-diseases related emergency.

“As the state’s chief legal officer, I particularly appreciate that the bill removes a cloud hanging over important decisions made to date by affirming that a state of disaster emergency has been properly in effect since March 12,” says Schmidt. “This was a top legal concern I identified in my formal Opinion earlier this week, and it is the most important action I recommended the Legislature accomplish. I also appreciate the bill’s greater flexibility to address local needs and conditions rather than one-size-fits-all statewide mandates.”

Inspections of adult care homes and sanitization of personal protective equipment, supplies and testing kits will be made available because of the bill. It will also assure first responders whether or not they are being called to COVID-19 positive environments and gives greater legal certainty to health care providers as well as reopening businesses that adhere to health guidelines.

“Many of these provisions are temporary, and all should receive more review and discussion before the next legislative session when further changes no doubt will be advisable,” says AG Schmidt. “But for now, these seem reasonable actions to bring a greater sense of order, certainty and collaboration to the state’s COVID-19 recovery efforts. Overall, the bill maps a reasonable and cooperative path forward for our state, and I hope it becomes law.”