TOPEKA – (April 8, 2020) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued the following statement in response to requests for comment after Governor Kelly’s afternoon news conference:
“I certainly disagree with the governor’s assessment that adhering to the laws and Constitution of this state is an ‘unnecessary distraction’ – rather, that is precisely what is required of each of us, especially during stressful times. My point of view should not have been surprising to the governor because my office repeatedly advised against issuing the overreaching executive order regulating churches and notified her I would express my concerns publicly if she proceeded. She did, and so did I.
“As I said this morning, the important point for all Kansans is this: Follow sound public health advice and do not gather for religious services or for any other reason until the COVID-19 crisis has passed. I am confident Kansans of faith can be trusted to follow that important advice without their government threatening criminal sanctions for disobedience.
“Throughout this COVID-19 emergency, the attorney general’s office has worked cooperatively with the governor’s office and many others in state government to help ensure the unprecedented use of emergency decrees remains lawful, and we will continue to do so. I trust the governor will as well, despite her uncharacteristically political comments this afternoon.
“As the dust settles, our assessment of the current situation is that Executive Order 20-14, the prior version of the ‘mass gatherings’ order, remains in effect because the new order rescinding it has not been published in the Kansas Register and therefore has not taken effect. We would be happy to consult with the governor’s legal staff if they have a different view.”