TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly exercised authority Monday to line-item veto 18 elements of a budget bill before signing the remainder allocating new funding for newborn screenings, mental health prevention and crisis services, and programs for people with intellectual disabilities and in long-term nursing care.
She discarded provisions cutting her out of the state’s decisions on use of federal COVID-19 aid and another forcing a 2% budget cut at agencies that didn’t adopt a performance-based budget system. She deleted from the bill a prohibition on mask mandates, including at 4-H gatherings. Ousted were measures shifting $10 million in higher education money to a building maintenance program, ending a moratorium on admissions to state psychiatric hospitals and requiring state agencies and contractors rely on the E-Verify system to confirm job applicants’ immigration status.
“While I support the majority of the provisions in this budget, there are items that have either been resolved in existing legislation or that would be better addressed not in this budget but through better collaboration between agencies and stakeholders,” Kelly said. “Other provisions tie funding mandates or prohibitions to blanket policies that should either be more narrowly tailored or independently vetted on their own merits through the regular legislative process.”