Mandatory Masking Ban Passed – For Now

State lawmakers have approved a measure that would prohibit Kansas or its cities, counties, or school districts from imposing mask mandates to control the spread of any infectious disease.

The measure’s supporters fell far short of the two-thirds majorities necessary in both chambers to override a veto from Democratic Governor Laura Kelly.

The vote in the Senate was 23-17, leaving supporters four short of a two-thirds majority.

The tally in the House was 64-53, leaving the bill’s backers 20 votes shy of a two-thirds majority.

The bill was a response from conservative Republicans to mask mandates imposed by Kelly and cities, counties and school districts throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers supporting the measure argued that the coronavirus pandemic showed the need to protect people’s personal liberties.

Critics said the restrictions would make it harder to check the spread of dangerous new diseases or even familiar ones like measles.

No Democrats voted for the measure, and Republicans split over it enough to make a veto override unlikely.