Kansas Republicans overturn governor’s order, allow for large Easter gatherings

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Governor Laura Kelly’s order limiting religious gatherings to 10 people has been struck down by Kansas Republicans.

While medical professionals advise against gatherings that could further spread COVID-19, the GOP saw this limitation as an attack on religious liberty. This afternoon, representatives congregated and voted to overturn the directive. The votes feel straight down the party lines, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats.

Earlier this morning, Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) sent a memo advising police officers not to enforce the order.

Schmidt wrote, “In our view, Kansas statute and the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights each forbid the governor from criminalizing participation in worship gatherings by executive order.”

Meanwhile, digital and TV services continue to exist almost everywhere.

Kansas, we ask you to please stay inside. There are so many ways to worship without endangering yourself or others. The more you go out, the longer we have to stay inside.

Update:

Representative Sharice Davids (KS-03) issued the following statement in response to leaders in the Kansas Legislature reversing an executive order limiting religious gathering to 10 or fewer people during the coronavirus pandemic:

“The decision to overturn Governor Kelly’s executive order is not only outrageous and irresponsible – it’s putting lives at risk. Rather than work to ensure the health and safety of Kansans, extremists in the state legislature have created chaos and confusion and endangered our public health.

“To be clear: the governor’s executive order does not prohibit anyone from worshiping, only from gathering in large public groups. Thank you to the many responsible faith leaders in our community and across the state who have also urged their congregations to take preventative measures to slow the spread of this virus, including limiting mass gatherings. I join them in asking Kansans to please stay home if you can. While it’s difficult to spend time away from our loved ones and communities right now, it’s absolutely the right thing to do – and lives will be saved because of it.”

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