Gov. Kelly sets priorities as she rescinds orders, pushes for extension of disaster declaration

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly(KWCH 12)
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Monday announced that she’s rescinded all but two of nine executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as she’s pushing top lawmakers to extend a disaster declaration for the pandemic through Aug. 30. Kelly said it’s key to keep two remaining orders to help with vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing.

Kelly said two of her main priorities are vaccinating children before the next school year and keeping testing going. The governor issued a statement Monday explaining her decision to rescind seven of nine orders and why she’s pushing for a disaster-declaration extension.

“Ending these pandemic executive orders is one of the final actions we will take to end the state of Kansas’ emergency response,” Governor Kelly said. “Moving forward, we will transition to an emergency response focused on getting our kids vaccinated and providing logistical support to local communities for vaccines and continued COVID-19 testing. Without a disaster declaration in place, we undermine our ability to achieve these priorities and objectives. We owe it to Kansans to finish the job and wind down the state of disaster emergency responsibly.”

In a letter, Kelly asked the Legislative Coordinating Council to extend the state of disaster declaration through Aug. 30. She said the disaster declaration has helped to vaccinate more than 48,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17. That’s about 20 percent of Kansas kids in that age group. The governor said even though Kansas has seen a decrease in vaccinations since the school year ended last month, the state anticipates being able to have between 42 and 49 percent of the state’s 12-to-17-year-old age group vaccinated by the end of August.

Kelly said vaccination efforts planned around the back-to-school period will help to increase the rate of vaccinations for Kansas teens. But if the disaster declaration ends, she says, it will impact those efforts. Currently, the state has additional staff, including the Kansas National Guard, administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

The governor’s other priority is COVID-19 testing. The state of disaster declaration has also required testing at adult care homes licensed by the state and underserved populations throughout mobile clinics.

The Legislative Coordinating Council (LCC) is set to meet Tuesday to discuss whether or not they’ll be extending Governor Kelly’s disaster declaration.

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