Laura Kelly

TOPEKA, Kansas — A near sweep by conservatives over moderates in several primary races this week sets up more conflict over the next two years between the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

“There will be a lot of feuding and fighting going on, particularly given the COVID situation,” said Rep. Tom Phillips, a moderate Republican from Manhattan who isn’t seeking a fifth term.

Republican leaders could further limit Kelly’s power to guide the state’s response to the pandemic and power past her objections to reducing corporate taxes.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday after being in a public meeting last month with a legislative leader who’d been infected and hospitalized, a spokesman said.

Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — A top Republican legislator in Kansas was hospitalized last month after testing positive for the novel coronavirus and didn’t disclose it to colleagues until this week. The state’s Democratic governor declared Thursday that she’ll get tested because the two of them attended a meeting together after he was hospitalized.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas' Republican attorney general said Thursday that he thinks both counties and local school districts can exempt themselves from the Democratic governor's coronavirus-inspired order requiring schools to have staff and students wear masks.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Kansas’ elementary, middle and high schools can reopen for in-person instruction in August, despite Gov. Laura Kelly’s push to delay the 2020-21 school year until after Labor Day.

The Kansas State Board of Education voted 5-5 Wednesday — the tie being enough to reject Kelly’s executive order that would have delayed the start by three weeks. Her order, which affected instruction and all extracurriculars, needed the board’s approval.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Students, teachers and staff members at K-12 schools in Kansas will wear masks, use hand sanitizer once an hour, socially distance and have their temperatures taken daily. That’s according to a new statewide mandate from Gov. Laura Kelly, who says she does not need approval to institute the COVID-19 safety regulations.

courtesy photo

TOPEKA — A Kansas county Republican Party chairman who owns a weekly newspaper has apologized for a cartoon posted on the paper's Facebook page that equated the Democratic governor's coronavirus-inspired order for people to wear masks in public with the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Sedgwick County commissioners voted Thursday not to adopt Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order on masks as a mandate, but instead are recommending that residents mask up when they're out in public.

Some commissioners said they support the order’s intent, but questioned its enforceability.

"We really and truly need to wear our masks when we’re going out," Commissioner David Dennis said, "but the problem is enforcement."

Virtually everyone in Kansas is under an order to wear masks when they’re in public starting Friday.

Yet the executive order, officially issued by Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday, comes with exceptions.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansans from Liberal to Leavenworth will need to wear a mask in public starting Friday.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said she will issue a new executive order later this week requiring masks. While the State Finance Council will review the order — a Republican-majority panel of legislators that she has clashed with during the pandemic — they cannot revoke it. Only the full Legislature has the ability to do that with a concurrent resolution Kelly's office said.

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