The days leading up to the opening of the Kansas legislative session saw a surge in new COVID-19 cases in Kansas, and hospitals stressed again.
Governor Laura Kelly declared a new emergency last week, and issued executive orders that eased state licensing rules to make it easier for hospitals and nursing homes to add staff quickly.
Lawmakers must decide whether to keep those orders in effect past 15 days.
The largest pandemic-related issue lawmakers face is following up on legislation enacted during a November special session to make it easier for workers to refuse to comply with vaccine mandates.
Some conservatives want to bar private employers from imposing mandates, while others say the issue is tough because they’ve normally argued for less government regulation of businesses.
Some conservatives would also like to strip the state health department of its power to require new vaccines for school attendance without going through the Legislature.