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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed multiple bills on Friday, including the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” and the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.

Kelly vetoed a total of four bills: SB 58, SB 160, House Substitute for SB 286 and Senate Substitute for HB 2448. Kelly addressed each of her veto decisions in a news release.

Parent’s Bill of Rights

This bill would give parents the right to inspect curriculum, instructional materials or any other materials used to teach children at school.

Specifically, it would let them “inspect any materials, activities, curriculum, lessons, syllabi, surveys, tests, questionnaires, examinations, books, magazines, handouts, professional development and training materials and any other materials or activities that are provided to the parent’s child.”

Parents would have the right to challenge any material or educational material of any book. If the challenge is successful, it would allow for the removal of the book, magazine or material from the school.

“Throughout the pandemic, parents had to step up and do the impossible. Go to work. Take care of their children. Teach, tutor and facilitate their children’s learning. When it comes to their children’s education, parents can and should play a vital role. We know that parental engagement in their child’s education greatly impacts the outcome. This bill, however, is about politics, not parents. Over one hundred Kansas parents testified against this bill. It would create more division in our schools and would be costly. Money that should be spent in the classroom would end up being spent in the courtroom. That’s unacceptable, especially after our efforts to bring Democrats and Republicans together to fully fund our schools for the last four years.”

Governor Laura Kelly

Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

SB 160 would ban transgender student-athletes from participating in women’s sports. The bill would also clarify that teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls “shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

If passed into law, the bill would require the state’s high school activities association (KSHSAA) and the Board of Regents to be in charge of how the rules are enforced in schools. The bill was vetoed last year as well after having passed through the Kansas House and Senate.

“Both Republican and Democratic Governors have joined me in vetoing similar divisive bills for the same reasons: it’s harmful to students and their families and it’s bad for business. We all want a fair and safe place for our kids to play and compete. However, this bill didn’t come from the experts at our schools, our athletes, or the Kansas State High School Activities Association. It came from politicians trying to score political points. This bill would also undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses. It would send a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than strategic, pro-growth lawmaking.”

Governor Laura Kelly

Governmental Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

SB 286 would bring relief to small businesses ravaged by the pandemic by providing federal funds to impacted businesses and help Kansans who are struggling financially. It would set aside $100 million in federal coronavirus relief money to help businesses that were forced to shut down.

The bill would require certain counties to establish and administer a county COVID-19 business relief fund and certain cities to establish and administer a city COVID-19 business relief fund. Furthermore, this legislation would create the crime of interference with the conduct of a hospital and extended the use of telemedicine.

“This bill includes valuable provisions that I support, such as expanding telemedicine and criminal penalties for violence against health care workers in hospital settings. During the pandemic, I worked with hospitals, frontline care workers, and stakeholders on a narrowly tailored compromise to protect our doctors and nurses responding to COVID-19 while ensuring Kansas patients still had appropriate protections. This was important for those working around the clock, caring for our loved ones during the height of the pandemic. However, a last-minute provision was inserted into this bill which gutted our original carefully crafted compromise and indiscriminately broadened protections for health care providers, substantially reducing protections for Kansas patients.”

Governor Laura Kelly

HB 2448

This bill requires the Department for Children and Families to assign all able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS) subject to the food assistance work requirements established by federal law to an employment training program. The provisions of the bill apply only to ABAWDS aged 18 through 49 and only to individuals who are not employed at least 30 hours a week.

“Every Kansan feels the price of the pandemic-induced inflation at the pumps and at the grocery store. The cost of food alone is one of the most significant contributors to inflation overall. With the rising costs of these necessities, we should be helping people afford the basics. This bill would unnecessarily burden nearly 30,000 hard-working Kansans, including people caring for their families and impacting those with children. 

Governor Laura Kelly