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Gov. Kelly, Republican leadership both call 2021 session a success



TOPEKA, Kan. – Governor Laura Kelly (D) says she’s studying a bill that would allow businesses impacted by pandemic-related restrictions a share of federal Covid-relief dollars.

The compromise was among the final bills approved early Saturday morning, to bring an end to the 2021 Legislative Session.

Kelly said Monday her office was involved in negotiations, but she wants to see all changes made before deciding whether she’ll sign it. She says she is pleased it backed off of giving a three-member board, operating outside the public eye, control over potentially $500,000,000 in aid.

“There will be a lot of people clamoring to get that money and that’s why it needs to be taken care of in as open the process as possible so that Kansans can be assured that their money is being wisely invested,” Kelly said.

The governor also said she was pleased overall with the session, particularly with fully funding K-12 schools.

House Republicans were also pleased, but for other reasons.

A joint statement released by Republican Reps. Ron Ryckman, Dan Hawkins, and Blane Finch said “Kansas voters put a strong republican majority in place for a reason – to pass common-sense policy and prevent government overreach. That’s exactly what we did this session.”

Senate Republicans were also pleased, highlighting the same areas in what they called a “historic pace in passing legislation to help Kansans.”

“While this session was anything but normal, what Republicans were able to achieve on behalf of Kansans cannot be overstated. In just the last week alone, we set a historic pace in passing legislation to help Kansans. Tax relief is on its way to families. Tens of thousands of at-risk students now have the opportunity at a better future. Our elections were made more secure and 2nd amendment rights were enhanced. Small businesses know that the legislature has their back when government tells them to shut down. Finally, we made it clear we are not having vaccine passports in Kansas,” Senate President Ty Masterson said.

“We had unique challenges this session but were able to overcome them by working together to pass great legislation that helped people across our great state,” Senate Vice President Rick Wilborn said. “I am thankful to all of our Republicans for putting the people first and pressing forward with such a positive agenda for the people we serve.”

The Senate will return May 26. They will consider any additional vetoes, and elect a new majority leader to replace Gene Suellentrop.