Governor Kelly Signs Bipartisan Bill to
Expand Teacher Workforce in Kansas

~~Gov. Also Signs Bill to Increase Access to Higher Education for Veterans~~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 66, a bipartisan bill that allows Kansas to join the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, making it easier for educators within the multi-state agreement to move to and work in Kansas. The bill also expands scholarship opportunities for Kansans studying to become teachers. 

“Teacher shortages have been a challenge across the country, but it has been particularly tough on our rural communities,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “This bill addresses the teacher shortage here in Kansas by helping to fill vacancies with qualified educators who want to move to our state. That’s good for our students, for our rural communities, and for our growing economy.”

“I am so proud that Governor Kelly has signed SB 66 into law,” Senator Pat Pettey, Kansas Senate District 6, said. “This bipartisan legislation preserves the existing state-based licensure system while creating an alternative path to licensure for teachers relocating to and from a compact state. Not only does this create an agreed-upon regulatory framework for teacher reciprocity, it also speeds up the application process for relocating licensees, reduces time and resources spent by licensing agencies, and adds one more tool to the State Board of Education Licensure tool box.” 

In addition to Senate Bill 66, Governor Kelly signed Senate Bill 123, which will grow Kansas’ educator workforce by expanding the Promise Scholarship program to students pursuing degrees in elementary and secondary education. The bill also creates the Adult Learner Grant Act, a grant for adult learners pursuing certain fields of study. It also creates an incentive program for schools to support students pursuing careers and technical education and allows veterans and their families to qualify for in-state tuition. 

“Investing in education at every level is not only good for our students, but good for our economy,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “As the daughter of a career Army officer, I’m pleased with the steps this bill takes to make college more affordable for heroes who have served and for their dependents. This bill invests in our students looking to pursue a degree, career, or technical education right here in Kansas, and will keep our workforce strong.” 

“As a military child myself, I knew the pain of having to move out of a school district that I had grown to love,” said Senator Jeff Pittman. “Military dependents make daily sacrifices, experiencing fears and distinct challenges as a result of their parents serving our country; they are forced to break relationships as they move and often find themselves on an island adrift from a geographic home. I was proud to be one of the two sponsors of SB 123 to give in-state college tuition to military dependents who have been previously stationed in Kansas but have since been deployed elsewhere. For a community that sacrifices so much, this is a small way for Kansas to say ‘welcome home.’” 

“We must use every resource available to ensure students at all levels have the tools and opportunities they need to thrive,” said Cynthia Lane, Member of the Kansas Board of Regents. “This bill opens up doors for our students pursuing higher education, whether at a four-year institution, a community college, or a technical school, and eliminates barriers to their success. I’d like to thank Governor Kelly and the legislature for coming together on such an important and impactful issue.” 

Governor Kelly also signed three other bipartisan bills into law:  

Senate Bill 132: Provides for the buffalo soldier distinctive license plate. 

Senate Bill 189: Requires applicants seeking employment in law enforcement to disclose previous employment records, including any misconduct.  

House Sub for Senate Bill 116: Removes fees for obtaining a license to carry concealed handguns, eliminating a barrier to safety training for concealed carry.  

Governor Kelly also vetoed Senate Bill 26, Senate Bill 180, Senate Bill 228, and Senate Substitute for House Bill 2138. The vetoes come after certain discriminatory and federally non-compliant provisions were added to SB 228 and S Sub HB 2138.

The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her vetoes of Senate Bill 26, Senate Bill 180, Senate Bill 228, and Senate Substitute for House Bill 2138:  

“Companies have made it clear that they are not interested in doing business with states that discriminate against workers and their families. By stripping away rights from Kansans and opening the state up to expensive and unnecessary lawsuits, these bills would hurt our ability to continue breaking economic records and landing new business deals. 

“I’m focused on the economy. Anyone care to join me? 

“Under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto Senate Bill 26, Senate Bill 180, Senate Bill 228, and House Bill 2138.”