For over a year, a number of Democratic governors have cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to exert more power, usually in the form of emergency powers granted to them by state legislatures.
However, according to The Epoch Times, a growing number of state-level Republicans have decided to begin the process of taking some of that power back, as evidenced in Kansas, where GOP state legislators voted last week to repeal a mask mandate favored by Gov. Laura Kelly (D).
Among those leading the charge was Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch (R), a Republican member who has represented Kansas’ 59th State House District since 2013.
No more need for masks?
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, Finch argued that any need for a statewide rule requiring continued mask usage has now run its course.
“There is no worrying spike today, and no circumstances which justify the continued impositions…of the governor’s overreaching statewide mask mandate,” Finch said.
The Epoch Times noted that data from Kansas’ state health department appears to back Finch’s assertion, as the number of new daily COVID-19 cases declined from 226 on March 22 to 85 cases on April 1.
That apparently wasn’t good enough for Kelly, though, with the governor indicating in a statement that she was “disappointed that Republican leaders are more motivated by political publicity stunts than working together to protect Kansans and our economy.”
“I know that all of us are ready to get back to normal, but wearing a face-covering will help protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors from the new COVID-19 strains that are wreaking havoc in other states,” the governor added.
COVID-19 case numbers drop
Kansas is not the only state to do away with its statewide mask mandate, as Wisconsin’s mask mandate also recently ended. According to UPI, that was a result of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court overturning a mask order issued by Gov. Tony Evers (D).
“The question in this case is not whether the governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully,” Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote for the majority. “We conclude he did not.”
Arkansas and Texas recently ended their mask mandates, as well. Despite ominous predictions from critics following his move, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted on March 28 that his state has reported its best COVID-19 numbers to date.
“Today the 7-day Covid positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95%. Hospitalizations dropped to a 6 month low. This week we have 1 million 1st vaccines available,” the governor wrote.