Judge Strikes Down COVID Law

A judge has struck down as unconstitutional a state law requiring unusually speedy legal hearings and decisions for people challenging mask requirements and other COVID-19 restrictions.

Johnson County District Judge David Hauber’s ruling also struck down limits on state and local officials’ power to impose restrictions on businesses, schools, and public gatherings, and greater oversight for the Legislature over Governor Laura Kelly’s actions.

Top legislators ended a state of emergency in Kansas for the pandemic last month, canceling many of the law’s provisions, but Hauber said some could apply in future pandemics or disasters.

The law allowed people to file complaints with cities, counties, and local school boards if they objected to mask mandates or other restrictions.

The law required a hearing within three days, and a decision within 10 days.

Hauber said the Legislature overstepped its authority and infringed upon the judicial branch’s by passing the law.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office said that he would appeal the decision.