TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Budget legislation signed Friday by Gov. Laura Kelly increases funding for Kansas courts, provides extra dollars for higher education and funds a new state health laboratory.
The measure contains a piece of a nearly $21 billion spending blueprint for state government for the budget year beginning July 1.
Kelly used her power to veto individual budget items to remove only one provision. It would provide $500,000 for clinical trials of a COVID-19 treatment using stem cells. Kelly called it “unneeded” because of existing treatments and COVID-19 vaccines.
The measure included an additional $53 million for state universities and colleges to meet a federal requirement for states to maintain “historic" higher education funding to get coronavirus relief funds.
The measure had $17 million to increase pay for state court employees, including judges, and hire 70 new court services officers.
Lawmakers didn’t include raises for all state workers. Some argued taxpayers would be angry after thousands of people lost jobs and businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure also authorizes $120 million in bonds to renovate a 1950s state office building near the Statehouse and $65 million in bonds for a new state Department of Health and Environment lab in the Topeka area.