TOPEKA – (August 3, 2021) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday asked the Kansas Supreme Court to clarify the status of state emergency management law by putting on hold a lower court’s decision that invalidated recent legislative reforms while it considers whether part of the law is unconstitutional.
“The issues the court sought to reach had been rendered moot by the expiration of the pertinent section of SB 40. Yet the court charged forward with its constitutional agenda notwithstanding that it had already ‘denie[d] the plaintiffs any relief as being moot and untimely,’” Schmidt wrote in a motion asking the Supreme Court to stay the lower court’s ruling pending the appeal.
Earlier this month, Johnson County District Court Judge David Hauber found the new legislative enactment, known as Senate Bill 40, unconstitutional. Schmidt on July 21 notified the district court that he would appeal the decision to the Kansas Supreme Court and asked the lower court to stay its decision in the case, pending the appeal. The motion for stay was denied by the district court last week, and Schmidt has now formally appealed.
In the district court filings, Schmidt noted that the court’s ruling was causing “unnecessary and disruptive confusion,” in part because many provisions of Senate Bill 40 were not at issue in the case but it nevertheless appears the court ruling may have found them “unenforceable.” Schmidt said he is hopeful the Kansas Supreme Court will act quickly to remove any confusion that could potentially hamper the State’s ability to respond to a future disaster emergency because of confusion about what law is in effect.
The case is Butler v. Shawnee Mission School Board. A copy of the docketing statement filed with the Kansas Supreme Court is available at https://bit.ly/3ifNVWE. A copy of the motion for stay is available at https://bit.ly/3jmPZMd. A copy of the motion for an expedited hearing is available at https://bit.ly/3ypSLq0.