A single-source story, regularly updated, on the information NFIB members should be aware
As part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of novel coronavirus in Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-16, making Kansas the 22nd state in the nation to institute a temporary, statewide stay-home order. It will exist in conjunction with the Kansas Essential Function Framework for COVID-19 response efforts and will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 30. The measure will be in place at least until Sunday, April 19.
Under Executive Order 20-16, Kansans are directed to stay home unless performing one of the following essential activities:
- Obtaining food, medicine and other household necessities;
- Going to and from work at a business or organization performing an essential function as identified in the Kansas Essential Function Framework;
- Seeking medical care;
- Caring for children, family members or pets, or caring for a vulnerable person in another location;
- Engaging in an outdoor activity, provided individuals maintain a distance of six feet from one another and abide by the 10-person limitation on gathering size.
Kelly explained that this action became necessary for three key reasons:
- To provide statewide uniformity in response efforts;
- To prevent overwhelming hospitals – especially rural hospitals – who may not have the same capacity to handle an influx of COVID-19 patients;
- To buy Kansas more time as the state officials work with federal partners to secure badly needed protective personal equipment (PPE), additional ventilators and COVID-19 testing supplies.
Kelly also commended federal efforts in recent days to support state and local response efforts in the form of an historic emergency relief package. More details about implications the federal stimulus bill will have for Kansas will be released as they become available.
The executive order can be viewed here.
Please visit kdheks.gov/coronavirus for additional virus-related information, and visit getkansasbenefits.gov for federal stimulus benefits updates or to file for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Governor Laura Kelly today issued Executive Order #20-14 limiting mass gatherings in Kansas to 10 persons, which replaced the previous order limiting mass gatherings to 50 persons.
The decision was based on updated guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and modeling from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) that projected cases of COVID-19 in Kansas could sharply rise to a range of 300 to 900 by the end of the month.
She also issued Executive Order #20-15, which details the Kansas Essential Functions Framework (KEFF) that counties will be required to use if local officials determine it is necessary to issue stay-at-home orders.
Stay-at-home orders require that residents not leave their homes unless they are engaged in activities that are essential to the health and safety of themselves, family members or friends. Essential activities include, but are not limited to, seeking medical attention, purchasing food or filling up gas tanks.
KEFF was developed with reference to national critical function guidelines established for pandemic and other disaster response efforts and provides information on how to limit sustained personal interaction while providing for the continuation of essential infrastructure and businesses. If a local authority has issued a stay-home or similar order, businesses or organizations that fit a KEFF exemption for essential functions should contact that local authority.
With the vast majority of Kansas counties without a confirmed case as of today, the Governor does not plan to issue a statewide stay-at-home order at this time..
To subscribe to daily COVID-19 updates from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, visit KDHE’s website here.
To view Executive Order #20-14, click here.
To view Executive Order #20-15, click here.
On March 19, the legislature left town on First Adjournment five days earlier than planned. First Adjournment is technically the point when most of the legislative business is complete, bills that have passed go to the Governor and the legislature breaks. This year, the outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of life, including the expediting of legislative business.
The legislature passed 3 bills and a resolution in response to the COVID-19 outbreak: 1) House substitute for SB 142 which authorized the State Board of Education to waive the minimum number of days requirements for K-12 schools; 2) SB 102 which allows the Chief Judge to modify or suspend court deadlines; and 3) SB 27 which allows for 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Finally, HCR 5025 would extend the powers of the Governor during this state emergency. The resolution was modified by the Senate to assure there would be no seizure of ammunition and guns.
The overall focus of the final week was passage of a budget, the ONLY duty that the legislature can and must do under the Kansas Constitution. Throughout the week, Senate Ways and Means Chair Carolyn McGinn and House Appropriations Chair Troy Waymaster guided their respective members to agree to a budget that approves basic necessary funding to all state agencies. They also passed the new 10-year Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan.
Many bills and issues have been deferred to the traditional Veto Session that normally lasts about two weeks at the end of April. Legislators are anxious that the economic impact and the cost of the state response to COVID-19 may greatly impact revenues and spending.
The legislature’s return is indeed in doubt. While the legislature passed an adjournment resolution that would have them return on April 27, the resolution left the door open for them to return sooner or later. The resolution includes a mechanism for the Legislative Coordinating Council to approve a return date before or after April 27. Additionally, the resolution states that the last day the 2020 session, known as Sine Die, is set for May 21. No matter what occurs with the COVID-19 response, if the legislature doesn’t return before the May 21 there will be no 2020 Veto Session. Following that date, the Governor would have to call a special session to convene the legislature. Given these uncertain times, that may be more likely than not.
State Response to COVID-19
The federal government is actively responding to the coronavirus crisis. So too is Governor Kelly’s administration and the legislature. Here are some of the key actions that have been taken at the state level:
- Enacted HCR5025 which declares a Disaster Emergency giving the Governor additional authorities and flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 challenges. To see the powers granted, CLICK HERE.
- Enacted a short-term increase in unemployment benefits. SB27 extends the number weeks a beneficiary can claim unemployment benefits from 16 to 26 weeks. For information on unemployment benefits, visit getkansasbenefits.gov.
- Enacted a bill that would give the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court authority to adjust deadlines, time limitations and court appearance procedures. For more information on the authority granted, CLICK HERE.
- Enacted legislation granting authority to the State Board of Education to deal with school closure and the subsequent fall-out, such as managing waivers for graduation. For more information, CLICK HERE.
- Passed a basic budget that includes resources for response to COVID-19. The budget adds $50 million, all from the State General Fund, for the coronavirus response, to be released by LCC following submission by the Director of the Budget and review by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in FY 2020. It is unclear when or how the LCC will determine to allocate the funds. The budget language appears to give the LCC flexibility to spend the funds on programs that benefit both public agencies and the private sector. More to follow there.
- The budget also adds $15.0 million, all from the State General Fund, for the coronavirus response, to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management in FY 2020. For a summary of the budget, CLICK HERE.
- The Administration has rolled out programs and responses to the coronavirus crisis.
- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) established website that provides up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. Visit KDHEKS.GOV/CORONAVIRUS for information and to sign up for daily updates.
- Established the Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency (HIRE) Fund to provide bridge loans for Kansas’ hospitality sector during the COVID-19 crisis. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $20 thousand at 0% interest for 36 months. For more information on the HIRE Fund, CLICK HERE.
- In addition to the HIRE Fund, the Kansas Department of Commerce is administering a COVID-19 website with resources for small businesses. CLICK HERE to visit that site.
- The Administration has announced other measures in light of COVID-19, including prohibiting evictions and foreclosures, effective through May 1. Further, the Governor signed an executive order prohibiting utility disconnects during the disaster emergency period. For a up to date information on what the Administration is doing, please CLICK HERE.
Governor Kelly filed an application with the U.S. Small Business Administration to secure Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds to assist Kansas small businesses. We anticipate Kansas will be designated soon. The loans are up to $2 million with an interest rate of 3.75%. For more information, CLICK HERE.