Gov. Laura Kelly said the ongoing growth of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and fatalities tied to COVID-19 led her to sign a new statewide mask mandate that stipulates county officials must conduct a public vote to opt out. Her original mask order in July was disregarded by 80 of the state’s 105 counties. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly says her new executive order will extend Kansas driver’s licenses and identification cards that would have expired during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The executive order, signed by Kelly Wednesday, allows driver’s licenses and identification cards that expired during the COVID-19 pandemic to remain valid until Jan. 26, 2021.
“Due to the logistical challenges COVID-19 has presented, it is important that we provide Kansans with some leniency regarding drivers’ license renewal,” Kelly said. “This is especially important as we near the election, as people tend to use their drivers’ licenses as a form of identification at the polls.”
Kelly and legislators on the State Finance Council met Thursday to review the order, which extends licenses expired after March 12 of this year for those not able to renew their license in person.
The order also extends deadlines for vehicle registration that may have expired during the pandemic. The new deadlines found in the order are staggered based on the vehicle purchase date.
Under the order, law enforcement officers are expected to use their discretion when deciding to penalize a driver for an expired license or registration.
The action is a slightly amended version of a March order on the extension of driver’s licenses, said Clay Britton, Kelly’s chief attorney.
“The idea behind (the orders) has been to not require Kansans to come into an office to renew licenses or registration during the pandemic, if at all possible,” Britton said. “As with all emergency orders in place right now, this one will expire in January, or earlier if the disaster declaration ends sooner.”
Kelly and the State Finance Council agreed to adopt a 30-day extension of the pandemic disaster declaration last week.
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