Lawmakers wrap up session, approving COVID-19 relief for businesses

Fund takes away from relief the state, cities and counties would have received

By

State News

May 8, 2021 - 8:09 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kansas passed proposals by early Saturday to ban COVID-19 vaccine passports, limit efforts to track down the close contacts of people with the coronavirus and provide up to $500 million to businesses that closed or faced pandemic restrictions.

The GOP-controlled Legislature approved budget legislation Friday night that included a ban on state agencies from issuing vaccine passports and limits on COVID-19 contact tracing, sending it to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Some conservative Republicans gave up on trying to pass a separate bill with more expansive versions of those policies that also would remain in effect after the next state budget expires at the end of June 2022.

Three senators and three House members haggled over but ultimately struck a deal on a bill that would set aside federal COVID-19 relief funds headed to the state, cities and counties. Those funds would be used to pay claims to businesses that can show they were harmed financially by being forced to shut down or by limits on their operations.

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