Leavenworth to consider extension of mask order

Opponents submit petition

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth City Hall

As Leavenworth city commissioners prepare to consider an extension of a mask order, signatures are being checked on a petition from a group seeking to repeal the order.

When they meet this evening, commissioners are scheduled to consider an extension of an ordinance that requires people to wear masks or other face coverings in public spaces in the city of Leavenworth.

Commissioners approved the ordinance in November in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The ordinance, which was approved by a 4-1 vote, will expire at the end of Sunday if it is not extended.

After the ordinance was approved, a group of area residents began circulating a petition in an effort to repeal the mandate. The petition was submitted to the city Friday.

The County Clerk’s Office is now verifying the petition has the necessary number of signatures from registered voters from the city.

If the petition is determined to be valid, the issue could be placed before voters in the city in a special election.

The verification process had not been completed Monday. But County Clerk Janet Klasinski said her office should be finished ahead of tonight’s City Commission meeting.

“We’ll have it by then,” she said.

Klasinski, who is the county’s chief election officer, has said about 695 names of registered voters from Leavenworth are needed in order for the petition to be valid. She said this represents 25% of the number of people who voted in the city’s last municipal election.

There is no countywide mask mandate. The Board of County Commissioners have voted to exempt the county from a mask mandate issued by the governor.

The cities of Lansing and Tonganoxie also have enacted ordinances that require masks to be worn in public spaces within those cities.

Last week, the Tonganoxie City Council extended that city’s mask order through April 14, according to City Manager George Brajkovic.

Lansing’s ordinance is scheduled to expire Sunday. But Lansing City Council members are scheduled to consider an extension when they meet Thursday.

Petitions for the repeal of the Lansing and Tonganoxie orders also are being circulated, according to April Cromer, who has been involved in the effort.

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