By the Associated Press:

Republican lawmakers argue that a pandemic justifies special rules in Kansas for protecting the privacy of people exposed to COVID-19. They have advanced a proposal to preserve them over public health groups’ objections.

The Senate voted 26-14 Wednesday to approve a bill that would make contact tracing rules for the novel coronavirus permanent. That sets COVID-19 apart from other infectious diseases, such as syphilis or hepatitis.

The GOP-controlled Legislature enacted the special rules at Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s urging, but they are set to expire May 1. Critics say it makes little sense to have different rules for different diseases. The measure went to the House.