The City has received many questions regarding the action City Council took during its Oct. 12 meeting to adopt the 2020 Uniform Public Office Code (UPOC).
The UPOC is a standardized update provided annually by the League of Kansas Municipalities to bring city ordinances into compliance with state laws.
The adopted UPOC update included language under Section 10.29 called the Violation of the Public Health Order. The order states it’s “unlawful for any person to violate, refuse, or fail to comply with a written order of the County Health Officer, Board of Health, or Director of Health…” and is considered a Class C violation.
This language created some confusion around the City’s enforcement of the current mask mandate that is in place in the State of Kansas.
According to Merriam City Attorney Ryan Denk, the Merriam Police Department wouldn’t be able to enforce the State’s current mask order under Section 10.29 because the mask mandate was adopted by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and was not a written order of the Johnson County Health Officer, Board of Health, or Director of Health.
However, the existing State mask mandate remains enforceable by the District Attorney and Attorney General as a civil offense with a fine, per House Bill 2016, that was adopted by the State Legislature in June.
Read the Oct. 12 City Council agenda. View the meeting.