Governor Vetoes Business Compensation Act

Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a proposal to set aside hundreds of millions of Kansas’ federal coronavirus relief dollars to compensate small businesses that faced restrictions earlier in the pandemic.

Kelly said in her veto message that the measure was “well-intentioned,” but violated a federal coronavirus relief law enacted in March.

She also suggested that Kansas already has a more transparent process for giving out relief funds through a task force she created last year.

Her veto sparked criticism in the Legislature, particularly from conservatives who’ve argued for months that state and local government restrictions on businesses were too harsh and applied unfairly.

Supporters of the bill were short of the two-thirds majorities in both chambers necessary to override a veto when the bill passed earlier this month because Republicans were split, and Democrats opposed the measure.

Under the measure, compensation would have gone to businesses with 50 or fewer employees if they could show they were harmed by pandemic restrictions.