Governor Laura Kelly today signed House Bill 2007, the state budget for FY 2021 and FY 2022, which passed with bipartisan support. However, she line-item vetoed certain provisos resolved in existing legislation or that would be better addressed not in this budget but through better collaboration between agencies and stakeholders.
The following message is from Governor Laura Kelly regarding her signing of HB 2007, and her line-item vetoes:
“I want to thank the legislature for working together thoughtfully and expeditiously to pass this budget, which includes many enhancements to the work we began before the pandemic to restore funding through fiscally responsible tax and budget policy. There is still more work to be done, however, this budget includes significant funding to support some of the most vulnerable Kansans, including those in long-term care and those with intellectual disabilities. It also increases access to newborn screening, preventive mental health, and crisis services.
“While I support the majority of the provisions in this budget, there are items that have either been resolved in existing legislation or that would be better addressed not in this budget but through better collaboration between agencies and stakeholders. Other provisions tie funding mandates or prohibitions to blanket policies that should either be more narrowly tailored or independently vetted on their own merits through the regular legislative process.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to address the critical funding measures that must be passed during Omnibus. These include our constitutional obligation to adequately and equitably fund our K-12 public schools, salary increases for state employees, and restored funding for state agencies whose budgets were reduced as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, pursuant to Article 2, Section 14(b) of the Constitution of the State of Kansas, I hereby return House Bill 2007 with my signature approving the bill, except for the items enumerated below.”
State Bank Commissioner—Per Diem Increase for Kansas Banking Board Members
Section 4(b) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would increase the per diem for members of the state banking board from $35 to $100 for the 2021 fiscal year, which ends in less than 70 days. The legislature should study this issue over the interim and make recommendations applicable to all boards and commissions. These recommendations should consider the fiscal impact of potential increases.
Legislative Coordinating Council—Room 221-E
Sections 29(d) and 31(a) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety. Additionally, the following portion of section 30(a) has also been vetoed:
- Provided further, That notwithstanding the provisions of K.S.A. 75-3765a, and amendments thereto, or any other statute, expenditures shall be made by the above agency from the legislative coordinating council – operations account of the state general fund for fiscal year 2022 for the designation and identification of room 221-E of the state capitol building as a meditation room.
These sections would designate Room 221-E as the meditation room in the Statehouse. I support legislative efforts to provide a meditation space in one of the many rooms in the Capitol that remain unused for much of the year and are more convenient, more accessible, and closer to the public entrance.
Room 221-E, which is adjacent to the rest of the Governor’s Office and has been designated as part of the Governor’s Office space in the Statehouse, is currently being used by our constituent services team to provide critical assistance to Kansans on unemployment issues, proclamations, questions regarding legislative matters, and other inquiries.
Legislative Coordinating Council—Federal Coronavirus Relief Funding
Section 30(c) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would require recommendation by the Legislative Budget Committee and approval by the Legislative Coordinating Council before any federal coronavirus relief funds can be spent. The process for allocating federal funds should follow the agreed-upon process of approval through the State Finance Council after recommendation from the SPARK Taskforce. This will ensure that federal funds are allocated with a full understanding of the relevant federal requirements and limitations while receiving input from the private sector through a transparent process. Changing this now will create confusion and slow down the ability to make meaningful investments critical to our economic recovery.
Department of Commerce—Public Broadcasting Facility Relocation
Sections 69(j), 70(i), 71(a), and 72(a) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety.
These sections would prohibit any appropriation from the state economic development initiatives fund to a public broadcasting station that moved to a different location or has a plan to move to a different location. It has been brought to my attention that this language was broader than intended. Please work with interested parties to agree to language that is more narrowly tailored.
Department for Health and Environment – Division of Health Care Finance—Protected Income Level for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
That portion of Section 80(e) that reads as follows has been line-item vetoed:
- (2) 300% of federal supplemental security income for any person in Kansas receiving services from a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly administered by the Kansas department of aging and disability services.
This would increase the protected income level for those who are in the PACE program above Kansans who are served under section 1915(c) of the federal Social Security Act. When I signed House Substitute for Senate Bill 25 in 2019, I approved an increase to the protected income level for both groups to $1,177 per month, which is reflected in rules and regulations. The protected income level should continue to be addressed in a comprehensive manner.
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services—Moratoriums at State Psychiatric Hospitals
Sections 84(s) and 85(a) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety.
These sections would prohibit the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services from making any expenditures that would impose a moratorium on admissions at any state psychiatric hospital from the effective date of this act through June 30, 2023. It would also require KDADS to lift the moratorium by October 1, 2021, using existing resources.
I have worked with the legislature to include funding in last year’s budget for a comprehensive plan to safely and efficiently lift the moratorium. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed certain building activities in that plan, pushing the expected completion date to the beginning of 2022. This proviso simply lifts the moratorium earlier than is possible, without any feasible re-opening plan or funding. This will force the agency to pay higher costs for contract staff and an expedited construction timeline. I am committed to lifting the moratorium, but we should do so in a way that doesn’t endanger staff or patients or lead to high one-time costs that can be avoided through a more fiscally responsible approach.
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services—Request for Proposals for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
Section 84(t) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would require the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services to issue a request for proposals from potential providers interested in participating in the PACE program.
If this is a priority for the Legislature, additional funding should be appropriated in the omnibus budget bill to expand the PACE program rather than simply requiring a request for proposals. Given the current language of this proviso, funding for expanding PACE would require an offset in funding from existing resources and initiatives. As a long-time supporter of the PACE program, I understand that it can provide long-term savings, but that should be acknowledged with a comprehensive funding plan that offsets initial costs.
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services—Larned State Hospital and Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility Pay Parity
Section 84(w) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This provision would require the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to provide the same starting salary and wages for entry-level positions at Larned State Hospital as are provided at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility using existing resources. If this is a priority for the Legislature, the Legislature should appropriate additional funding for the agency to implement higher entry-level salary and wages.
Kansas Department for Children and Families—Hope Ranch Pilot Program
That portion of Section 87(a) that reads as follows has been line-item vetoed:
- Provided further, That in addition to other purposes for which expenditures may be made by the above agency from the youth services aid and assistance account for fiscal year 2022, an amount not to exceed $300,000 shall be expended by the above agency from such account for fiscal year 2022 for the purposes of funding the hope ranch for women pilot program: And provided further, That in addition to other purposes for which expenditures may be made by the above agency from such account for fiscal year 2022, expenditures shall be made by the above agency from such account for fiscal year 2022 for the creation of a report detailing activities conducted during the hope ranch for women pilot program, including the number of women served, the demographics of women served, the client service needs at intake, the length of services, the reasons for any cases closing, the recidivism rate, the client costs and the average project costs, and a budget itemization report and budget transaction report: And provided further, That the secretary for children and families shall submit such report to the house of representatives committee on social services budget on or before January 31, 2022.
This language would require the Department for Children and Families to provide up to $300,000 of public funds to the Hope Ranch for Women organization. My administration has a strong record of supporting organizations combating human trafficking through competitive grants and other programs that ensure accountability of public funding. If the Legislature wishes to establish a new program to provide more funding to organizations doing this critical work, it should send a fully vetted piece of legislation to my desk after thorough legislative, stakeholder, and public review.
Kansas State University—Polytechnic Campus
Section 101(a) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This allocation would allocate $160,080 to the Kansas State University Polytechnic campus with the stated justification that it is intended to reimburse the campus for revenue that was received by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System from the sale of surplus property under K.S.A. 75-6609(f)(1). If the Legislature wants to create a different distribution formula for proceeds from the sale of surplus real estate, then it should amend the statute to do so for all state agencies and not provide an exception to the statute for the sale of surplus property by one entity. If this is intended to be an enhancement for Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, then it should apply for such an enhancement through the normal process.
Kansas State University Extension Systems and Agricultural Research Programs—4-H Micromanagement
Sections 103(d) and 104(d) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety.
These sections would prohibit any expenditures by Kansas State University or Kansas State University Extension Systems and Agricultural Research Programs that would require participants to wear face coverings or have a COVID-19 vaccination to participate in any 4-H organization, unit, event, or activity. Most children eligible to participate in 4-H are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, much less be required to take it. During the pandemic, many involved in 4-H have demonstrated commitment and leadership in protecting the health of their communities and family and we should commend them for their efforts.
Kansas Highway Patrol—Aircraft Trade-In and Purchase of Single-Engine Aircraft
Sections 121(a) and 121(f) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety.
This section requires the Kansas Highway Patrol to trade in two aircraft and allows it to purchase one aircraft. My budget provided comprehensive funding for Kansas Highway Patrol aircraft. This section does not. I encourage the Legislature to work with the administration to find comprehensive funding to address this needed enhancement, including the possibility of using one-time federal funding.
Kansas State Troopers—Capitol Police and State Trooper Pay Parity
Section 122(h) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This measure would require the Kansas Highway Patrol to make expenditures to provide salary and wage parity between the Capitol Police and State Troopers. We should respect the Kansas Highway Patrol’s request to address this issue internally.
Section 140—2% Cut if Performance Based Budget Objectives Are Not Met
Section 140 has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would implement a complex and unnecessary system for ensuring that state agencies are following K.S.A. 75-3718(b). As the former Ranking Member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, I know first-hand the importance of making budgeting decisions based on the effectiveness of state programs and services. State Agencies already provide annual performance-based budgets for consideration during the budgeting process. Although steps to continually improve agency data and metrics are important, attaching these efforts to substantial punitive budget cuts are dangerous and counterproductive. I will not sign a provision that would put critical state services like K-12 public schools at risk of a 2% cut. Any individual issues with the quantity or quality of information provided should be addressed internally. I will continue to be committed to ensuring that both the administration and the Legislature have the information needed to make informed budget decisions.
Section 141—Prohibiting Expenditures to Issue or Enforce Statewide Mask Mandate
Section 141 has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would prohibit any expenditures to issue or enforce a statewide mask mandate. This proviso is unnecessary considering the significant changes made to the Kansas Emergency Management Act in Senate Bill 40. There are already enough avenues for the legislature—and even private citizens—to challenge or overturn public health measures such as mask mandates, which reduce the spread of the coronavirus, reduce hospitalizations, and save lives.
Section 142—E-verify Provisions
Section 142 has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would require state agencies and some bidders, contractors, or employers who contract with the state to participate in E-verify beginning in fiscal year 2022 and ending June 30, 2023. Although I welcome policies to help improve oversight and accountability for state operations and contracts, blanket policy changes to the state’s administrative processes should be fully vetted by stakeholders, legislators, and the public through the traditional legislative process.
Section 143—Unemployment Insurance Modernization Request for Proposal Restrictions
Section 143 has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This issue has already been addressed in House Bill 2196, which I signed on the same day that I signed this bill. House Bill 2196 establishes comprehensive oversight measures regarding unemployment system modernization efforts and avoids the undue and harmful delay in modernizing our unemployment insurance system that this section would cause.
Kansas Board of Regents—State University Capital Renewal Initiative
Section 163(a) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.
This section would provide $10,292,230 for the State University Capital Renewal Initiative. This funding is equivalent to the funding that was included in the budget to be used at the discretion of the Kansas Board of Regents. While I provided discretion to the Board of Regents on the use of this funding, the amount was calculated based on the share that the Regents System would receive if all state employees received a 2.5% salary and wage adjustment and not as a bond service payment on deferred maintenance. Although investments to address infrastructure issues are critically important, this specific state appropriation should be included with pay increases for state employees as intended. The Kansas Board of Regents should utilize federal funds to pay for deferred maintenance.