The attorney general notified Kansas State University and the University of Kansas that both were in violation of a new state law broadening access to religious or medical exemptions to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
Enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for millions of health care workers was blocked in 10 states on Monday, after a ruling by a federal judge in Missouri.
Democratic legislators criticized the Kansas special session last week, calling the measures considered a waste of taxpayer money, and pointing to issues like the food sales tax and the criminal justice system in need of a closer look.
Expect the Legislature to grapple with an assortment of coronavirus bills, including one taking away authority of private businesses to mandate employees get a COVID-19 vaccination. Another proposal would add COVID-19 vaccination status to the list of prohibited forms of employment discrimination along with race, religion, color, sex, disability, ancestry, national origin and age.
Gov. Laura Kelly has signed legislation passed during a special session Monday, clearing the way for unvaccinated workers to keep their jobs in the face of federal mandates.
The Kansas Legislature completed a 14-hour special session Monday night by sending Gov. Laura Kelly a bill packed with generous medical, religious and philosophical exemptions to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates and the potential of state unemployment benefits to people fired for refusing to be inoculated.
Anti-vaxxers packed the gallery overlooking the House chamber for this historic special session debate, and were repeatedly admonished for jeering, applauding or coughing on the lawmakers below.
The Kansas Senate struggled with a series of amendments Monday before passing a bill defining wide religious and medical exemptions to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates and extending state unemployment assistance to people fired for refusing inoculations.
On the to-do list for the Kansas Legislature’s special session will be laws making it easier for a person to claim a religious exemption to vaccination mandates, and they’ll likely consider granting unemployment benefits to anyone fired for refusing to be vaccinated or to undergo regular testing.
Eric Stafford, lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber, wants legislators to understand that businesses don’t want mandates “from either side.”
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