Kansas legislator: Kelly’s staff wouldn’t release list of PPE suppliers

Topeka — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s office blocked a Kansas legislative committee from obtaining a list of the state’s personal protective equipment suppliers, a Republican lawmakers told colleagues Tuesday.

Sen. Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha released emails during a meeting of a House-Senate study committee showing that the panel’s request had been refused, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The committee is considering whether the laws need to be revised in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee sought the list after state Adjutant General David Weishaar, who oversees the Division of Emergency Management, testified last month that some of the state’s personal protective equipment was defective. According to the emails released by Pyle, the department cited instructions from the governor’s staff in declining to release the list.

“How can I know how to make policy about PPE when I can’t even get the data about PPE?” Pyle said.

Will Lawrence, Kelly’s chief of staff, argued that the directive was merely an effort to narrow the committee’s request to avoid wasting the time of agency staffers who were responding to the pandemic.

Also, Lawrence said, providing too much information could hinder the state’s efforts to procure equipment in the future if the information becomes public.


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