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Governor Laura Kelly suggests talks with legislators on statewide mask mandate

Masks in Kansas
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:54 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Should the whole state of Kansas be under a mask mandate? That’s what Governor Laura Kelly wants to discuss with house and senate leaders to try to come to a bipartisan agreement.

Governor Kelly saying the reason for the discussion, COVID 19 cases spiking now in some rural communities, where masks may not be required.

House representative Stephen Owens says a one size fits all approach doesn’t work for Kansas and he doesn’t support the idea of a statewide mask mandate.

"What is good for our small counties, oftentimes isn’t good for our bigger counties and vise versa. I think that we have very capable leaders in those counties, and I think we have seen spikes in counties where mask mandates have existed,” said Owens.

Local leaders, like mayor Brandon Whipple, plan to have a discussion next week about what could happen if cases start to spike in Sedgwick County and we potentially see more public health orders.

“We have found folks that will create a dangerous environment, and will be told they are creating a dangerous environment, and it’s unlawful. They will say, I don’t care, and we need to figure out what to do in those situations,” said Whipple.

Whipple says this is not to target one group of businesses, but to have a plan in place to avoid a mass shut down.

On the state level, if there is a meeting to discuss a statewide mask mandate, Owens makes it clear, those kinds of decisions should be left to local leaders.

"You signed a bill into law that allowed counties to have local control, and now a few months later you want to change that law, I don’t think that’s going to sit well,” said Owens.

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