Privacy paramount in contract tracing debate

Republican legislators and Kansas’ GOP attorney general said Tuesday privacy is key, as lawmakers prepared to decide whether to rewrite a law that allows people exposed to COVID-19 to refuse to disclose their contacts to health officials.

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January 6, 2021 - 9:28 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican legislators and Kansas’ GOP attorney general said Tuesday privacy is key, as lawmakers prepared to decide whether to rewrite a law that allows people exposed to COVID-19 to refuse to disclose their contacts to health officials.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly wants legislators to rewrite the law enacted last year, arguing in a recent interview that provisions allowing people to opt out of contact tracing “served no purpose.” Some health officials say the law hinders efforts to trace new coronavirus cases to their source and warn others who might have been infected.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature aren’t ruling out changes, but some said they want to make sure people’s privacy remains protected. The law was enacted for the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to expire May 1, forcing legislators to review it during the annual 90-day session opening Monday.

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