Legislative action discussed during LEPC meeting
The Cloud County Local Emergency Preparedness Committee (LEPC) held its weekly meeting on Friday morning via Zoom. The main topic was how to interpret the actions taken by the Kansas Legislature during a marathon session yesterday.
The GOP-controlled legislature pushed through a bill that would shift control of the state’s pandemic response from Gov. Laura Kelly to legislative leaders.
The sweeping bill would strip many of the Governor's emergency powers, and reflects Republicans' view that Kelly is reopening the state's economy too slowly and has been too aggressive with restrictions.
The bill will most likely be vetoed by Kelly, and the veto would stand unless the legislature convenes for another special session to try and override the veto.
If the legislative plan is adopted into a bill, counties will have greater discretion in adopting their own plans for reopening.
Concordia City Attorney Justin Ferrel noted that, under the Governor's current plan, no county in Kansas can enact any guidelines that are less restrictive than the state guidelines.
It is believed that the legislature's proposed measure would allow individual counties to enact less restrictive guidelines.
One of the questions broached was how to schedule upcoming annual summer events such as parades, county fairs, and the Clyde Watermelon Festival. The current restrictive guidelines in place would still prevent mass gatherings of more than 90 people into the month of July.
Although Cloud County has, per capita, a low ratio of positive COVID-19 cases, the concern among local health officials is the likelihood that large outdoor events would bring in visitors from other counties, thereby increasing the chances of an outbreak of the coronavirus in local communities.