Kansas Attorney General Issues Opinion on Prosecution of Emergency Order Violations

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has issued a formal legal opinion addressing whether a state law that authorizes criminal prosecution of Kansans who violate emergency orders issued by the governor is constitutional and enforceable.

The opinion is a consolidated response to separate requests for the attorney general’s legal opinion on closely related subjects from a county district attorney, a state senator, and six state representatives.

The Attorney General wrote that the validity of the Second Disaster Proclamation on April 30, 2020 is doubtful.

He recommends that the legislature by statute expressly approve the state of disaster emergency.

Schmidt also says that three specific portions in the language of the emergency-powers statute are constitutionally suspect on their face.

He says the legislature should examine them carefully to determine whether they accurately reflect the legislature’s intent.

Schmidt specifically recommends no criminal charges be filed until a prosecutor has exercised due diligence in addressing the questions presented in the opinion.

The full opinion can be read here.