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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed three bills on Friday including one that would have prohibited the government from requiring the use of face masks during a health emergency.

Senate Bill 34

The substitute for SB 34 creates a law regarding actions by governmental entities or public officials affecting face mask requirements as a response to a contagious or infectious disease and prohibits a COVID-19 vaccination passport from being required by any governmental entity or public official.

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. 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.

Gov. Laura Kelly

House Bill 2387

House Bill 2387 creates law related to the medical assistance program and amends law regarding the powers of the governor in the Kansas Emergency Management Act.

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. This is not only good for the State of Kansas, but also for our current MCOs and the people they serve. 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.

Gov. Laura Kelly

House Bill 2252

Senate substitute for House Bill 2252 amends law regarding modifying election laws by agreement. It would prohibit the governor, the secretary of state and any other officer in the executive branch from entering into a consent decree or other agreement with any state or federal court or any agreement with any other party regarding the enforcement of election law or the alteration of any election procedure without specific approval by the Legislature.

Elected officials must be able to perform their job duties effectively and efficiently. 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.

Gov. Laura Kelly