Kansas Chamber disappointed with veto; cautions counties

KNSS News
May 26, 2020 - 9:59 pm
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With Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of Senate Substitute for House Bill 2054 (HB 2054) and the end of her statewide reopen plan, the Kansas Chamber and its members look to get the state economy back on track.

"The Kansas Chamber and its members are disappointed Gov. Kelly vetoed HB 2054. While not perfect, this legislation would have provided certainty for Kansans and for the state’s business community during these uncertain times," said Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb. "It is our hope Gov. Kelly and the Kansas Legislature work quickly together during the special session to resolve the issues between them and provide Kansans and the state's business community the assurances needed to safely move our economy forward."

Kansas counties and local health officials will have authority to issue their own orders once the governor’s current disaster declaration expires at midnight on Tuesday. Many are expected to continue the governor's reopen plan. Cobb cautioned it is important local restrictions remain reasonable and uniform across jurisdictions while also being necessary to maintain public health. 
 
"There is recourse if a county or local health officer becomes too restrictive or unreasonable," said Cobb. "Orders issued by counties, so far, have implicated some due process requirements. While counties can regulate public gatherings, the previous county orders also invoked the ability of counties to isolate individuals and make them stay home. Under those powers, Kansas businesses and individuals who believe they are unreasonably burdened by overly-restrictive orders generally have the right to a judicial hearing within 72 hours under K.S.A. 65-129c."
 
Cobb explained at a hearing, the court must grant relief unless it determines that the order is necessary and reasonable to prevent or reduce the spread of an outbreak of an infectious or contagious disease.
 
"The local health officer also will need to show why he or she has reason to believe the person in question has been exposed to an infectious or contagious disease. The local order must be medically necessary and reasonable to prevent or reduce the spread of the infectious or contagious disease," said Cobb.
 
Kansas businesses that believe a county or local health officer is unreasonable in restricting businesses or other activities can contact the Kansas Chamber at 785/-357-6321 or President@KansasChamber.org.

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