Outlines successes of first legislative session of her administration
Highlighting the significant progress made to rebuild Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly outlined the major accomplishments of her first legislative session as governor during a press conference this morning.
“We came into quite a mess in January. We’ve worked tirelessly to rebuild our state, so we can efficiently and effectively deliver the services Kansans expect,” Kelly said. “A lot of progress has been made, but we still have work to do.”
Kelly highlighted funding for public schools as her most notable accomplishment. The passage of bipartisan legislation resulted in $90 million more for schools, in addition to the $800 million added over the last two years. These investments have the potential to put an end to the cycle of litigation around this issue.
“As I’ve said, I will be the education governor Kansas deserves,” Kelly said. “This legislation represents a significant investment in the future of our students and our state.”
The governor also noted the steps taken to repair Kansas’ foster care system. The Legislature endorsed the governor’s budget proposal to align Kansas guidelines with the Family First Prevention Services Act, allowing the state to draw down millions in federal funds to help families before they need support from the foster care system.
“I’m pleased that the Legislature approved funding for 42 new social workers, so we can reduce caseloads and better serve vulnerable children and their families,” Kelly said.
Kelly also began the process of reducing transfers from the “Bank of KDOT,” the money from the state’s highway transportation program. Previously, this fund was used by the Legislature in past years to pay for programs unrelated to the transportation needs of the state.
“The State Highway Fund is one of Kansas’ most important job-creating tools,” Kelly said. “After years of fiscal crisis, we are finally using the state’s infrastructure dollars to fund infrastructure projects, instead of paying for failed tax policy.”
The governor also established the Office of Rural Prosperity during this first legislative session.
“Those are just a few of many highlights from this legislative session,” Kelly said. “And to top it all off, as promised, we accomplished all of this without a tax increase.”
The governor also noted key areas of concern during the press conference. She emphasized the importance of continued fiscal restraint, the corrections emergency left to address, and the disappointing lack of a Medicaid expansion vote.
“Because of Senate leadership, thousands of Kansans will go without healthcare for yet another year,” Kelly said. “For some, a year without healthcare can very well mean the difference between life and death. I want Kansans to know they have a champion in the Governor’s office who will keep fighting alongside them until we win this fight – no matter how long it takes.”