Kelly vetoes plan to ban mask mandates

The Kansas governor vetoed a bill that would prohibit government from imposing mask mandates and curb the power of local state and health officials during outbreaks of infectious diseases.

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May 16, 2022 - 3:47 PM

Gov. Laura Kelly.(TIM CARPENTER/KANSAS REFLECTOR)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday vetoed a bill that would prohibit government mask mandates in Kansas and curb the power of state and local health officials during outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The measure was the Republican-controlled Legislature’s response to mask mandates and other restrictions that outraged many conservative constituents during the coronavirus pandemic. But the measure split GOP lawmakers enough when it passed last month that supporters were far short of the two-thirds majorities in both chambers needed to override a veto.

The bill would prohibit state and local officials from issuing mandates, except for hospitals, other medical facilities and nursing homes they operate. Officials couldn’t require people to show proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 to use public spaces.

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