TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kansas pushed Wednesday to greatly limit Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s power to keep businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic and give the GOP-controlled Legislature’s leaders the final say over how federal coronavirus relief funds are spent.
GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee included the measures in a bill that the full Senate expects to consider Thursday, when the Legislature is scheduled for one, final day in session this year. Republicans tied their proposals to two must-have measures for Kelly — a formal ratification of Kelly’s previous coronavirus orders and an extension of state of emergency that she declared so that she could legally exercise broad powers.
A dispute between the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders has grown increasingly bitter over who controls the reopening of the state’s economy and the spending of coronavirus aid. Many GOP lawmakers contend Kelly is moving too slowly to reopen on the economy and dislike that her plan for lifting restrictions in phases between now and late June treats different kinds of businesses differently.