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Gov. Kelly vetoes COVID-19 small business relief act



TOPEKA, Kan. – Governor Kelly has vetoed a Senate Bill that democrats say was just an attempt to undermine her administration’s power.

Governor Laura Kelly says she has vetoed Senate Bill 273 and remains committed to the bipartisan, transparent, federally compliant distribution of federal stimulus funds.

SB 273 would enact the COVID-19 small business relief act in order to provide funds for small businesses impacted by the pandemic and create the COVID-19 councils and boards to ensure funds are administered to small businesses. The bill would also require a study by the legislative division of post audit and prohibit payment for intangible losses related to the pandemic.

According to Gov. Kelly, while the COVID-19 pandemic created many hardships for Kansas businesses, the SPARK Taskforce is committed to doing all it can to support pandemic recovery efforts. She said the process brings business, legislative and community leaders together to collaborate on investments using federal relief money.

“SB 273 is well-intentioned, but it violates federal rules for the use of American Rescue Plan Act (”ARPA”) funds that prevent the state from placing conditions or requirements on local governments’ use of ARPA funds. SB 273 also fails to comply with federal rules that prohibit using ARPA funds to resolve potential legal claims against state or local governments,” said Gov. Kelly. “I am committed to working with the SPARK Taskforce to develop relief programs that comply with federal requirements to ensure that our economy emerges from this pandemic stronger and more agile than ever.”

Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes claimed that SB 273 was just another attempt to undermine the Kelly Administration.

“Rather than working to help hardworking Kansans, Republican leadership has spent this legislative session finding ways to render Governor Kelly – and the will of Kansas voters who elected her – powerless, and SB 273 is yet another attempt to undermine her administration. This poorly-vetted, last-minute bill gives immense authority over millions of dollars to three unelected people hand-picked by legislative leadership. It’s also likely a violation of federal guidance surrounding relief funds. A bipartisan group of Senators voted against this unabashed power grab; it’s time Republican leadership set aside the games and either accept that Governor Kelly and her SPARK task force have been good stewards of federal relief funds, or come to the table with legislation that actually benefits all Kansans.”

The Kansas Democratic Party called the legislation n attempt to regulate how federal relief dollars should be spent and jeopardizes Kansans.

“It is outrageous that Republicans in the Kansas Legislature are attempting to regulate how federal COVID-19 relief funds should be spent despite not a single Republican vote in support of the American Rescue Plan Act,” said KDP Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt. “SB 273 attempts to put brazen restrictions on the Governor and violates federal law while jeopardizing Kansas’ economic recovery. The KDP commends Governor Kelly for vetoing this non-solution legislation.”