Review: Kansas governor sues to throw out state legislative leadership’s action deeming religious gatherings essential

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.

|2020-04-10T16:26:46-04:00April 10th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Kansas governor sues to throw out state legislative leadership’s action deeming religious gatherings essential

About the Author: Ross Silverman

Ross Silverman
Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH, is Professor of Health Policy and Management at Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health and Professor of Public Health and Law at Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He is a member of the IU Centers on Health Policy and Bioethics. His research focuses on public health and medical law, policy, and ethics, and law's impact on health outcomes and vulnerable populations. He also serves as Associate Editor on Legal Epidemiology for Public Health Reports, the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. His most recent Covid-19 publications include: "Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2" in the New England Journal of Medicine (with MM Mello & SB Omer), and "Covid-19: control measures must be equitable and inclusive" in BMJ (with ZD Berger, NG Evans & AL Phelan)

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