Kansas ponders open churches, abortion limits in pandemics

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Kansas state Rep. Jesse Burris, R-Mulvane, makes a point during a debate on legislation rewriting state emergency management laws during a House Judiciary Committee, Monday, March 1, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Burris wants to ensure that a governor cannot impose restrictions on religious gatherings in future pandemics or keep abortion clinics operating if businesses are shut down. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative legislators are pushing to prevent the state from limiting religious gatherings or keeping abortion providers open during emergencies that prompt restrictions on businesses.

GOP lawmakers still smarted Monday over actions Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly took early in the coronavirus pandemic, but they were split over how far they want to limit the power of state and local officials during future pandemics.

The Senate was set to debate a bill that includes the language on church gatherings and abortion providers. The House Judiciary Committee excluded those provisions from its narrower bill. Both measures rewrite the state’s emergency management laws.

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