Johnson County cuts charter meeting short over mask dispute

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OLATHE, Kan. — A public hearing Monday evening to discuss the Johnson County Home Rule Charter was cut short by a mask dispute. 

The public hearing originally scheduled for roughly two hours lasted less than 10 minutes. 

To participate in the public hearing, the University of Kansas-Edwards campus required everyone attending the meeting in person to wear a mask that covers both their nose and mouth, regardless of vaccination status. Due to a lack of compliance, the meeting was cut short without feedback from the public. 

“Earlier at about 5:15 p.m. I announced that if we were unable to limit the number of people in the room and have everyone in the room or in the building wear a mask, we would not be able to proceed with the public hearing,” Charter Commission Chair Greg Musil said. 

On Monday evening, 15 people signed up to speak at the public hearing virtually and 32 people signed up to speak in person. 

The Johnson County Home Rule Charter was originally adopted by voters in 2000. The charter requires the appointment of a 25-member charter commission to review the charter and determine if any amendments to the charter should be placed on the 2022 ballot for voters to consider. 

The 2021 Charter Commission has been meeting twice each month since March 2021. Recordings of previous meetings can be found on the Johnson County Charter Commission website. The commission posted a statement about the meeting on its website.

The next Charter Commission meeting is scheduled for Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. The commission intends to host a second public hearing, but a date has not yet been set. 

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