In a petition to the Kansas Supreme Court, the Kansas governor has argued that it is an unlawful delegation of the legislature’s authority to allow the state’s Legislative Coordinating Council to override the governor’s executive order limiting religious gatherings. The Kansas Supreme Court will hear the case on Saturday morning.
Earlier this week, the leadership of the Kansas legislature attempted to overturn the Governor’s Executive Order forbidding large in-person religious gatherings during the pandemic by passing a resolution through its Legislative Coordinating Council (a body comprised of the leadership of the state house and senate). The Kansas governor has argued that this action should be thrown out because, under state law, only action by the full legislature may override actions taken under the Governor’s emergency authority.
On its face, this act does not appear to clarify the underlying issues of whether the state, in exercising its emergency powers to protect the public’s health, can restrict religious behavior that is otherwise protected under the state’s Religious Freedom law and the state Constitution; however, it will be interesting to see whether the state Supreme Court limits its decision to this narrow issue.