Kansas House Leadership statement on Gov Kelly's lawsuit

KNSS News
April 10, 2020 - 7:49 am

Speaker Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe), Majority Leader Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita), and Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa) issued the following joint statement Thursday:

We’re concerned and disappointed. Throughout the day, legislative leaders have been working with the Governor’s staff and the Attorney General in an attempt to resolve the differences around yesterday’s executive order. Our goal was to work together to develop a solution that is both legal and protects the health and safety of all Kansans.

That solution does exist. Unfortunately, the Governor’s office was insistent that Executive Order #20-18 continue to contain a provision that would make church attendance in Kansas a crime. Under the advice of the Attorney General, that provision is unconstitutional and unenforceable.

To be clear, we agree with the Governor on these key points:

  • Kansans should stay home this Easter and Passover holiday.
  • Faith leaders should continue to offer alternative forms of worship and online services.
  • Churches should continue to follow the CDC and KDHE guidelines.
  • We must work together to continue to flatten the curve.

But, this is where we disagree: Kansans should not be arrested for practicing their faith.

Despite repeated attempts to solve this problem and create a constitutional order, the Governor has opted to create confusion and tie this issue up in the courts. We take seriously our obligation to protect people’s lives during this pandemic, and we know that the Governor does too. We urge the Governor to allow for a solution today that is safe and legal rather than pursuing an unnecessary lawsuit. We urge Kansans to stay home and stay safe and not to gather in large groups of any kind.

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