Governor Laura Kelly had harsh words for Kansas lawmakers over bills that were rushed to approval on the final day of the 2020 legislative session.
At a news conference Friday, the governor said she had not had time to read or review the bills that were approved, so she was not making announcements yet on any signatures or vetoes.
The governor said an appropriations bill called for new spending and pet projects even though the coronavirus pandemic has caused a budget shortfall. She said a bill that would limit the governor’s authority during an emergency would dramatically weaken the state’s ability to fight the COVID-19 virus.
The governor called the legislature’s actions the most embarrassing and irresponsible display of governing that has taken place during the coronavirus ordeal. She said what happened Thursday was “indefensible from start to finish.” She said there are serious constitutional and legal questions over the bills that were passed during the overnight session.
The governor also said Republican leaders did not allow committee discussion or floor debate on the bills, and lawmakers failed to follow a decorum of behavior in the final hours of the session.
In a statement issued after the Governor’s news conference, Kansas attorney general Derek Schmidt expressed satisfaction with a coronavirus relief bill approved by the state legislature on its final day in session.
Schmidt says the bill will not reduce the state’s ability to protect health and safety, but it calls for decisions to be made through bipartisan collaboration.
He said the bill provides for greater flexibility to meet local needs and conditions rather than a one-size-fits all-state mandate.
Schmidt said the bill also calls for stronger inspections for adult care homes and calls for personal protective equipment for to be available.