Legislature’s leaders postpone session, citing health threat

Gov. Kelly may need to issue a new statewide emergency declaration. Federal aid could be at risk.

By

State News

April 23, 2020 - 9:29 AM

A study says Kansas state lawmakers typically make $21,900 each legislative session. KANSAS NEWS SERVICE/NOMIN UJIYEDIIN/KCUR.ORG

TOPEKA — The Kansas Legislature’s leadership postponed resumption of the session Wednesday to protect two-thirds of lawmakers considered at risk of being infected with COVID-19, a decision likely to compel Gov. Laura Kelly to issue a new statewide emergency declaration and potentially jeopardize millions of dollars in federal aid.

Lawmakers were scheduled to reconvene April 27, but concern about undermining health of House and Senate members led the bipartisan Legislative Coordinating Council to abandon that plan. The LCC voted unanimously to delay a decision on resumption of work at the Capitol to no later than May 6. The governor’s overarching emergency declaration for Kansas will expire May 1.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman and Senate President Susan Wagle, two Republicans on the LCC, said the governor could retain all her emergency authority by issuing a new disaster declaration. The process doesn’t allow her to simply extend the existing order.

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