Governor Kelly Ceremonially Signs Bill Increasing Protections for Health Care Workers, Decriminalizing Fentanyl Test Strips

WICHITA – Governor Laura Kelly visited Wesley Medical Center today, where she ceremonially signed Senate Bill 174. The bipartisan bill increases the criminal penalties for people convicted of battery of a health care provider.

“The number of stories we’ve heard over the last few years of health care workers being harassed and abused while doing their jobs is appalling and unacceptable,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This bill is a win for our state, showing that both sides of the aisle can come together to save lives and protect health care workers.”

Governor Kelly was joined by legislators, health care workers, advocates, and hospital leadership to celebrate the passage of the legislation.

“At a time when health care is facing a staffing crisis, we are pleased legislation that provides protections for health care workers has been signed into law,” said Chad Austin, president and CEO, Kansas Hospital Association. “There are now criminal penalties for assault and battery of a health care worker.”

Battery against a health care provider is now a Class A misdemeanor.

SB 174 also decriminalizes fentanyl test strips, which is a step toward reducing overdose deaths resulting from the presence of fentanyl in drugs.

A photo from today’s signing for media use can be found below.