Gov. vetoes three bills, signs one in final days of legislative session

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:19 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed three bills and signed one on one of the last days of the legislative session.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Friday, May 13, in the final days of the legislative session, she vetoed Substitute for Senate Bill 34, Houe Bill 2387 and House Bill 2252. However, she did sign Senate Bill 313 into law.

“I have consistently opposed vaccine passports and mandating any COVID-19 vaccination. However, this bill goes beyond COVID-19 and implements a one-size-fits-all approach for all infectious diseases. It significantly limits any government entity’s response to any infectious disease outbreak,” Gov. Kelly said. “As a result, this legislation creates significant safety concerns for workers, for employers, for the economy, and for all Kansans. Schools could not adequately respond to an outbreak of measles in a classroom, and manufacturing facilities could not respond to a tuberculosis outbreak.”

Substitute for SB 34 was a bill that would have limited the powers of the Governor and other governmental agencies in future public health care emergencies. The bill would have barred mandates for face masks, quarantines and student vaccines.

SB 34 passed the Senate in February with a 32-7 vote and passed by the House with amendments with an 88-34 vote. A conference committee report was then adopted by the House with a 64-53 vote and the Senate with a 23-17 vote.

“Beyond that, our agricultural sector could not continue to fight the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). We have a responsibility to protect our critically important agricultural industry and the farmers and ranchers who feed the nation,” Kelly said. “We need to be prepared for what’s down the road to best protect Kansans. This bill puts the safety of all Kansans and our economy at risk.”

HB 2387 was introduced in February and would have created a law to bar the Governor or any state agency from issuing a request for proposal for the medical assistance program. It would also have prohibited the state government from entering into a new contract with managed care organizations for the medical assistance program.

“Having a transparent, competitive bidding process is key to ensuring that our state contracts provide the most value to Kansas taxpayers while using the latest technology and best practices,” Kelly said. “This is not only good for the State of Kansas, but also for our current MCOs and the people they serve.”

HB 2387 passed the House with a 101-23 vote. The Senate passed it with amendments with a unanimous vote. A conference committee report was then adopted by the Senate with a 26-12 vote and the House with an 84-38 vote.

“The language included in HB 2387 regarding the current MCO contracts is a product of closed-door dealings to push legislation that did not have a single proponent. There is little question that this effort is fraught with legal issues and jeopardizes our Medicaid program,” the Governor said. “HB 2387 prohibits the state Medicaid agency from pursuing the state’s independent procurement process and, by doing so, functionally provides the current MCOs with a no-bid, multi-billion-dollar, contract.”

HB 2252 would have barred the modification of election laws by agreement except as approved by the legislative coordinating council.

“Elected officials must be able to perform their job duties effectively and efficiently,” Kelly said. “By prohibiting executive branch officers, including the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, from entering into agreements regarding the enforcement of election law, this bill prevents the executive branch from fulfilling its constitutional duties. House Bill 2252 represents an overreach by the legislative branch that defies the separation of powers – a principle fundamental to a working democracy. If passed, it would also lead to costly litigation at the expense of Kansas taxpayers.”

HB 2252 passed the House with a 122-2 vote. However, once in the Senate a substitute was drafted and passed instead with a 30-8 vote. A conference committee report was adopted by the Senate with a 27-12 vote and the House with a 84-38 vote.

The one bill Kelly decided to pass on Friday was SB 313, which allows autonomous vehicles to be driven in the state and established the autonomous vehicle advisory committee.

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