TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republicans pushed a sweeping coronavirus measure through the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature on Friday, aiming to shield businesses and health care providers from coronavirus-related lawsuits and take control of the state’s pandemic response from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
Some Democrats predicted Kelly would veto the bill, but her office stopped short of promising that, issuing a statement Thursday accusing GOP lawmakers of trying to “cram” measures through the Legislature without vetting them. Democrats objected to curbing Kelly’s power and predicted that substandard nursing homes and manufacturers of defective personal protective equipment would be shielded from being held accountable in the state’s courts.
The bill reflects Republicans’ view that Kelly is moving too slowly to reopen the state’s economy and has been too aggressive in imposing restrictions. She imposed a statewide stay-at-home order from March 30 until May 4 and plans to lift restrictions on businesses in phases through June 23.