(Updated to clarify the governor requested an extension until July 15 but operations would close down by Aug. 30)
Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday followed through with her plan to rescind most of the remaining executive orders that were issued to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly announced late Monday afternoon that she was pulling seven of the nine remaining orders, but leaving two in place related to vaccinations and COVID-19 testing.
“Ending these pandemic executive orders is one of the final actions we will take to end the state of Kansas’ emergency response,” Kelly said in a statement.
“Moving forward, we will transition to an emergency response focused on getting our kids vaccinated and providing logistical support to local communities for vaccines and continued COVID-19 testing.
“Without a disaster declaration in place, we undermine our ability to achieve these priorities and objectives. We owe it to Kansans to finish the job and wind down the state of disaster emergency responsibly.”
The executive orders would go away with the end of the current emergency declaration that is set to lapse on Tuesday.
The governor has asked legislative leadership to extend the disaster declaration until July 15 with a goal of closing out operations by Aug. 30.
Statehouse officials believe legislative leadership will decide not to extend the declaration on Tuesday.
Leading lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with repeated extensions of the emergency declaration over the last 15 months.
It was not clear late Monday afternoon whether the Legislative Coordinating Council would even convene on Tuesday to take up the matter.
These are the executive orders the governor said she is is rescinding:
- Temporarily allowing notaries and witnesses to use audio-video communication technology during the state of disaster. Would end June 15.
- Licensure, certification and registration for persons and licensure of adult care homes during the state of emergency. Would end June 15.
- Extension of diver’s licenses and identification cards during the state of emergency declaration. Would end June 30.
- Waiving the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. Would end June 15.
- Temporary provisions for employer payment of income tax withholding for work performed in another state. Would end June 15.
- Temporary relief from certain tuberculosis testing requirements during the state of emergency. Would end June 15.
- Extending the time for Kansas rural water districts to hold annual meetings during the pandemic. Would end June 30.
The governor wants to leave one order in place that would allow contract nurses to perform vaccinations more easily.
She also would leave intact another order that requires COVID-19 testing in certain adult care homes licensed by the state.
Without the testing requirement for nursing homes, the state’s ability to protect the health and safety of staff and residents would be compromised, she said.
The governor said the executive order related to contract nurses is important in ongoing efforts to get Kansans vaccinated.
The contract nurses, the governor said, have already administered 45,981 vaccines.
The state has already completed vaccine clinics at 47 employers across the state with more than 40,000 Kansans getting inoculated.
There are 12 more employers who have requested vaccination clinics for their nearly 5,000 employees that are being scheduled.
The state also has scheduled 20 more community vaccination clinics between June 12 and July 27, 2021.
The governor said the state continues to need to employ the National Guard in the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through mobile clinics.
The National Guard, she said, has administered 122,323 vaccines, with 4,360 of those being administered since May 28.
Further, the National Guard has tested more than 30,603 individuals and transported over 26,304 samples to Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories, with 297 of those samples since May 28.