CORONAVIRUS: Legislature delays veto session; status of emergency declaration beyond May 1 and federal aid both in question Featured

CORONAVIRUS: Legislature delays veto session; status of emergency declaration beyond May 1 and federal aid both in question KVOE News file photo

Lawmakers are not returning to session Monday, and at this time it's unclear when they will start the veto session.


The Legislative Coordinating Council has voted unanimously to delay a decision to May 6 at the latest. This is beyond the current end of the state's emergency declaration, which is May 1, and means Governor Laura Kelly may well have to issue a new statewide emergency declaration.

Leaders of the LCC say Kelly could issue a new disaster declaration and retain her emergency authority. However, Will Lawrence, the governor's chief of staff, says that step could end funding for the Kansas National Guard as linked to coronavirus. It could also mean the state has to ask for a new federal disaster declaration, jeopardizing millions of dollars in federal aid.

The Kansas Constitution currently says lawmakers have to meet in person. The Topeka Capitol-Journal says most lawmakers -- 30 of the 40 senators and 78 of the 125 representatives -- are considered at risk of COVID-19 just because they are above 60 years old and it will be tough to keep the six-foot social distance guideline for lawmakers once they go back into session.

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