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GOP leader says Kansas health chief misled public on masks

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In this Thursday, June 4, 2020, photo, Kansas House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, right, D-Wichita, confers with House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, center, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., left, R-Olathe, during a break at in the chamber’s work during a special legislative session on the coronavirus pandemic at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Most Democratic lawmakers wore masks, while most Republicans did not. The issue is one of many creating a partisan divide in state legislatures across the U.S. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican leader in the Kansas Legislature is accusing Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s top public health administrator of using a misleading presentation to bolster their argument for requiring people to wear masks in public.

House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins’ criticism Monday came as a debate raged over imposing mandates to get the coronavirus under control. Hawkins’ criticism of Dr. Lee Norman came after the CEO of the small-government, free-market think tank suggested that Norman had “doctored” a chart used in a news conference last week.

Norman acknowledged that the chart might have caused confusion but said its central point that masks work remains valid. 

Dr. Lee Norman, top administrator at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, discusses the ongoing resurgence in coronavirus cases in the state during a news conference, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Norman is calling the resurgence “awful.” (AP Photo/John Hanna)

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