Governor Kelly Signs Bipartisan Bill
Honoring Father Emil J. Kapaun

— Today, Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 431, which directs the Capitol Preservation Committee to create a memorial honoring Chaplain (Captain) Emil Joesph Kapaun, a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient and Pilsen, Kansas native.

“Father Emil Kapaun was known for his selfless, dedicated service and providing care to all, regardless of their religion or beliefs,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I am proud to honor his legacy and sacrifices for our country by signing this bipartisan bill.”

Father Kapaun is the most highly decorated chaplain in United States Army history. After serving as a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Wichita, he was deployed in World War II and the Korean War. He was captured in the Battle of Unsan while refusing to leave the wounded and ultimately died as a prisoner of war in North Korea.

“It is an honor to co-sponsor Senate Bill 431 to commemorate our Kansas hero, Father Kapaun,” said Kansas State Senator Elaine Bowers, District 36. “As a member of the Capitol Preservation Committee, I pledge to see this memorial through the final stage of approval and permanent, prominent placement in the Statehouse.”

Governor Kelly has previously honored Father Kapaun by proclaiming September 29, 2021, as Father Emil Kapaun Day in Kansas. This marked the date his remains were identified and returned to Wichita be laid to rest.

“Father Kapaun’s bravery and service is commendable,” said Kansas State Senator Chase Blasi, District 27.  “He worked tirelessly to care for many courageous Americans fighting for our freedom in both World War II and the Korean War. It’s an honor to recognize his commitment and valor with this memorial.”

“Chaplain Father Emil Kapaun served his country and his fellow prisoners of war, regardless of their religion or creed,” said Kansas State Senator Rick Wilborn, District 35. “It is only fitting that we honor this native Kansan with an image in our state Capitol where every visitor and public servant may profit by his example.”

In addition to Senate Bill 431, Governor Kelly also signed the following bipartisan bills:

Senate Bill 336: Removing the requirement for underground storage tank operating permits to be obtained annually.

Senate Bill 307: Adding for-profit private entity to the definition of “qualified applicant” in the Kansas fights addiction act.