Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Mask Bans

Governor Laura Kelly has 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 Legislature’s response to mask mandates and other restrictions that outraged many conservative constituents during the pandemic.

When it passed last month, 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 at medical facilities and nursing homes.

Officials could not require people to show proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 to use public spaces.

The measure also would prohibit health officials from ordering law enforcement agencies to help them enforce orders.

Republican lawmakers saw the measure as protecting personal liberties, but Kelly said in her veto message that it would prevent adequate responses to outbreaks of diseases like measles, tuberculosis and bird flu.