The Kansas attorney general issued a formal legal opinion Wednesday recommending prosecutors drop charges for violating stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Laura Kelly.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said the validity of the second disaster proclamation, issued by Kelly on April 30, is doubtful. He said legislators should examine the statute to determine whether it reflects the legislature’s intent.
“Never before have all Kansans been subject for an extended time to such intrusive restrictions ordered by their government,” Schmidt said in the statement. “Quite obviously, these sorts of restrictions burdened fundamental rights — such as religion, assembly, and movement — that are constitutionally protected.”
Schmidt said the emergency declarations are reasonably subject to question because they are not put through the same deliberative processes as laws. He recommended that no criminal charges be filed until these questions are addressed.
Kelly’s first stay-at-home order was set to expire May 3, but a second order was issued to extend the deadline to Memorial Day on May 25.
Schmidt’s opinion is not legally binding but can be used by legislators as evidence that Kelly’s executive power should be limited.