Governor: ‘We are planning’ to request Kansas COVID-19 state of emergency extension

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has indicated Thursday her plans to extend the state of emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor told the KSNT News’ Capitol Bureau in an interview around 11:30 a.m. that she would be asking the Kansas Legislative Coordinating Council for an extension.

“We are planning to ask for an extension,” Kelly said. “We’ve been having conversations, but nothing formal.”

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Because of Senate Bill 273, which was passed with a veto-proof majority in March, the governor cannot issue the state of emergency extension herself. The bill limited the governor’s powers in response to the pandemic and added the council into the decision-making equation.

The Legislative Coordinating Council previously extended the state of emergency, which has been in place since March 12, 2020, to June 15, 2021. The governor previously asked for an extension through to June 27, but some members voiced opposition because they believe the state doesn’t have a good exit strategy to get out of the state of emergency.

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The state of emergency lets the state’s emergency management center coordinate efforts on coronavirus. It also allows the governor’s executive orders to stay in place. Some people are worried that if the state ends the disaster declaration, federal dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency could stop coming into the state, but that’s unclear.