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Court: Legislative Council Can’t Overturn Executive Order Banning Religious Services of More Than 10

Laura Kelly

Justices with the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Saturday that a legislative council can’t overturn the governor’s executive order banning religious services featuring more than 10 people. Instead, the entire legislature must join together.

“It looks like, according just to the plain text of the resolution, that the Legislature, by the language of the resolution, has given up any ability, short of reconvening, to override any executive order,” Justice Caleb Stegall said, according to Courthouse News.

The fight was over whether the GOP-majority Legislative Coordinating Council had the authority to overturn an executive order from Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat. The governor issued an executive order after the statewide spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was partially blamed on three religious conferences. She sued after the council, which is 5-2 Republican, voted along party lines to overturn her executive order.

This isn’t to say the LCC generally lacks the ability to do this, but the Court determined that under a state resolution, they can only do so after Kelly asks the State Finance Council to extend her state emergency declaration past May 1. The Legislature previously voted to extend it to this date.

[Screengrab via KMBC 9]

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