Commissioners take no action after governor’s order revoked

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth County commissioners ended up taking no action Thursday regarding the governor’s new mask order.

That is because the order already was struck down by members of the state’s Legislative Coordinating Council.

County commissioners previously exempted Leavenworth County from statewide mask orders issued by Gov. Laura Kelly.

As a result of a new state emergency management law, all of Kelly’s executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic expired Wednesday.

The governor had announced that she planned to reissue a number of executive orders Thursday including an order that requires people to wear face coverings in public spaces in Kansas.

In anticipation of Kelly’s new mask order, commissioners scheduled a special meeting for Thursday afternoon to consider whether to opt out of it.

The new emergency management law gives the Kansas Legislature and a group of lawmakers known as the Legislative Coordinating Council the authority to revoke new orders issued by the governor.

The Legislative Coordinating Council is made up of legislators who hold leadership positions in the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives. A majority of the council’s members are Republicans. Kelly is a Democrat.

Before Thursday’s County Commission meeting took place, the Legislative Coordinating Council voted to revoke the governor’s new mask order.

County commissioners met briefly Thursday without taking action. Commission Chairman Mike Smith said the mask order was no longer an issue.

Commissioner Mike Stieben said he conducted a survey through social media of constituents in the district he represents. Stieben said a majority of the people who responded supported the county’s approach of recommending masks but not mandating them.

Stieben said he feels county officials have done the right thing by promoting sanitary practices and social distancing.

“We’ve been consistent and we’ve taken the right approach, and I’m glad the state is catching up with us,” Stieben said.

Cities within Leavenworth County have enacted separate mask ordinances. Leavenworth’s mask ordinance expired Wednesday and was not renewed.

Lansing City Council members recently voted to extend that city’s mask ordinance through April 30.

A mask ordinance in the city of Tonganoxie is scheduled to be in place through at least April 14.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR