Governor reissues mask mandate; Lawmakers vow to revoke

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Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday delivered on her promise to reissue a mask mandate that Republican lawakers have already vowed to revoke.

Kelly issued the executive order calling for mask protocols along with 12 others that expired Wednesday.

“Since the pandemic began, my administration has been laser-focused on supporting and protecting our communities and our economy,” Kelly said in a statement.

“Extending these orders will ensure that our efforts will not have been wasted, and that Kansans and businesses don’t lose the resources they need to get back to normal.”

The governor’s orders are subject to being revoked by the Legislative Coordinating Council, which is made up of legislative leadership.

The LCC has already called a meeting for 1:30 Thursday afternoon.

All of the governor’s executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic expired Wednesday under the new emergency managment law passed by the Legislature.

The governor was allowed to reissue the orders, but they were subject to revocation by the Legislature.

If the Legislature is not in session – lawmakers are now on Easter break – the LCC has oversight of the executive orders.

The Kansas Senate and House have already come out in force against the governor reissuing an executive order calling for a mask mandate.

The Senate voted 29-11 Wednesday night to pass a resolution calling on legislative leadership to revoke any mask mandate the governor issued.

A day earlier, the House voted 84-39 to pass similar resolution.

Democratic lawakers argued against revoking the mask mandate, saying it is too early to let up in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason we’re winning this war on a pandemic is because we have practiced protocol that led to a remission in both the transmission of the virus and, indeed, the deaths of that have ensued,” Democratic state Sen. David Haley said Wednesday night.

“We should stay the course. It won’t be long now before there will be no need for masks and social distancing,” Haley said. “I just wished we could be a little more patient.”

The governor also reissued these orders Thursday: