TOPEKA, KS (KCTV) -- All Kansas eyes are on Topeka Monday morning for a Special Session involving federal vaccine mandates.

Lawmakers are holding the 10 a.m. session to consider two bills they say will provide some relief to many affected by federal vaccine mandates. One bill would allow employees to state religious beliefs as a reason to refuse the vaccine. The other would allow people who have been fired for being unvaccinated to get unemployment benefits.

President Joe Biden's administration on Nov. 4 announced that it would require all companies with at least 100 employees to make sure their workers are vaccinated by Jan. 4. The order does allow for workers to remain unvaccinated as long as they submit a negative COVID test every week. Companies who do not follow could be heavily fined.

The day after the announcement, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly came out against the mandate, saying she "appreciate(s) the intention to keep people safe," but that "I don't believe this directive is the correct, or most effective, solution for Kansas."

This is the first time the Kansas Legislature has ever called itself back into Special Session. Last year, the governor herself called a Special Session in response to COVID-19 policies. 

"Every single Republican in the House and the Senate, regardless they're conservative or moderate, signed on to call this Special Session," said Rep. Stephen Owens (R-Hesston). "So I think that in and of itself speaks volumes to people's willingness to come together to work, because they see people are hurting."

The Special Session will cost the state just over $60,000 each day.

"Sixty-three thousand dollars is significant money? Of course," said Rep. John Carmichael (D-Wichita). "On the other hand, it is important that people have an opportunity, frankly, for their legislators to respond to their concerns."

The Special Session was called after two-thirds of the state's legislators signed a petition. Based on the Kansas Constitution, the governor could not veto it.

Click here to listen to the Special Session live at 10 a.m. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

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