Kansas Republicans Overturn Governor’s Order Limiting Church Crowd Sizes
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly (D) issued an executive order limiting the size of religious gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic after three outbreaks were tied to churches, but the order was overturned by Republicans on the Kansas Legislative Coordinating Council.
The Lawrence Journal-World reported Wednesday that Kelly’s order, which “limited in-person religious services and funerals to 10 people,” came after Dr. Lee Norman, the state health department’s head, said 165 had become sick due to church outbreaks and 12 people had died.
Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt had said previously that the order was “sound public-health advice that Kansans should follow,” the publication noted, but discouraged state law enforcement agencies from enforcing it.
Senate President Susan Wagle, a Republican, said Kelly’s order violated Kansans’ “fundamental rights.”
“It appears to be out of line and extreme and clearly in violation, a blatant violation, of our fundamental rights,” she said, also questioning why abortion clinics remained open while church services were being restricted.
The Legislative Coordinating Council voted 5-2 to overturn the order, just days before Easter Sunday.
The Journal-World reported that “the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state grew Wednesday to 1,046, up from 900 Tuesday, with 38 deaths, up from 27 Tuesday.”