Kansas lawmakers pass bill to limit Gov Kelly's emergency powers

Governor Laura Kelly announces a Stay at Home Order for Kansas to slow the spread of coronavirus.
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas legislators convened for a single-day session on the coronavirus pandemic with Republican majorities determined to curb Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s power.

After more than 24 hours of work, the Kansas State Senate and House of Representatives both passed a bill that will limit the amount of power the Governor has while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers met Thursday after the GOP state Attorney General Derek Schmidt suggested that Kelly has been on “legally suspect” ground for three weeks.

Republican legislative leaders pushed a bill that would require Kelly to get the permission of top lawmakers to extend a state of emergency past Monday’s Memorial Day holiday.

It also would greatly limiting her power to close businesses even with an extension. Schmidt contends Kelly couldn't legally keep a state of emergency in place after May 1.

House Bill 2054 also says Governor Kelly can't proclaim a new state of disaster emergency without prior approval from the state's finance council, securing six votes to do so.

According to the bill, hospitals are protected from any licensing issues if they "admit patients in excess of such hospital's number of licensed beds or inconsistent with the licensed classification of such hospital's beds to the extent that such hospital determines is necessary to treat COVID-19 patients and to separate COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients."

A full link can be found at http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/documents/ccr_2020_hb2054_s_3490