Kansas Attorney General Asked to Rule on Criminal Prosecution

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says his office has been asked for its formal legal opinion on whether a state law that authorizes criminal prosecution of Kansans who violate emergency orders issued by the governor is constitutional and enforceable.

Schmidt says a local prosecuting attorney has requested his office review whether violations of emergency orders issued by the governor may lawfully be enforced and punished as crimes.

He notes that the Kansas constitution grants the legislature, not the governor, power to define what behavior may subject Kansans to potential arrest, criminal prosecution, fines or imprisonment.

No appellate court has determined whether the legislature – through provisions of the Kansas Emergency Management Act – has lawfully delegated that power to the governor.

Schmidt says his office will issue a formal legal opinion as soon as possible.