KANSAS — Is Kansas in a state of emergency? The state’s top lawmakers will have to decide by next Tuesday.
Kansas has been in a state of emergency for nearly 25 weeks. Now – the question is whether Republicans will allow the Democratic Governor to extend it.
A state of emergency allows Kansas to tap emergency money and aid. This could include unemployment benefits. Kansans who have been waiting for weeks/months to get through a backlog of cases could even go unpaid.
Also at risk is safety. Anyone who is under arrest would walk free if they are not given a speedy trial– which under Kansas law is within 150 DAYS. The Governor says it’s important for lawmakers to approve it.
Governor Laura Kelly, (D) Kansas, said, “If we don’t have an emergency declaration, it’s impossible for the state to assist our local units of government in dealing with this emergency.”
Extending the declaration may not be easy. Under the coronavirus bill passed by state lawmakers in June, the Governor must get approval from the state finance council – a group of lawmakers that can extend the order for 30 days at a time. Republican leadership on the council have previously expressed their dislike for the Governor extending the emergency declaration and are trying to reduce the Governor’s power.
In order to extend the declaration, the Governor must call a meeting of the state finance council.
There, she must get six ‘yes’ votes from the nine person group.