The Kansas House, on a bipartisan vote of 107-12, approved a COVID response plan (House Bill 2016) that modernizes the state’s emergency disaster laws and places common-sense checks and balances on government authority.
“From the get-go, lawmakers have been focused on how to protect the people of Kansas while also protecting our jobs and our economy through this national pandemic,” said Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe). “This plan strikes that balance.”
“Lawmakers have worked over the past week trying to pinpoint the Governor’s opposition to the original plan, and she now indicates she will sign the bill,” said House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita). “Kansas is counting on her to keep that promise.”
“For every state, COVID-19 has created new challenges. But, in Kansas, we were faced with the added challenge of outdated emergency disaster laws that did not provide appropriate checks and balances,” said Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa). “This will bring Kansas law up-to-date and provide a solid framework so our families, our businesses, and our schools will have more certainty going forward.”
Finch said Kansas statutes regarding emergency disasters had not been evaluated since 1975 and had not been tested through a human health pandemic. They were instead written to address animal health pandemics and emergencies with a short-lived impact, such as flooding and tornado damage.
Key Points in House Bill 2016: Governmental Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
These key provisions mirror the bill (House Bill 2054) that was vetoed by the Governor:
What’s the Difference?
Here’s what has changed from House Bill 2054, the bill vetoed by the Governor, and House Bill 2016: