One hundred days into her tenure as the 48th Governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly is reflecting on her accomplishments, highlighting successes and addressing the unfinished business of passing Medicaid expansion.
“When I gave my inaugural address on January 14, I stood in front of three banners with the words: equality, education and opportunity,” Kelly said. “These are the principles that have guided my first 100 days in office. And they are the principles that will guide us as we work to invest in our future and grow our economy. ”
In addition to the accomplishments outlined below, Kelly followed through on her promise to appoint a highly-qualified, bipartisan cabinet of Kansas leaders focused on rebuilding state agencies decimated by previous administrations.
“I was elected to rebuild Kansas and we’re already making progress,” Kelly said. “My team has increased transparency and accountability in our government and restored responsible, commonsense leadership that addresses the priorities of Kansas families.”
Kelly has taken significant steps towards stabilizing the state’s budget and investing in key priorities, like schools and roads. However, one critical issue is left unfinished: Medicaid expansion. In her fifteenth consecutive Kansan to Kansan weekly video, shared on Facebook earlier today, she called on Senate leadership to stop blocking progress on Medicaid expansion.
“We’re halfway there – but that’s not good enough. When the legislature returns on May 1st, they need to vote on Medicaid expansion,” Kelly said. “Over 77 percent of Kansans want expansion to happen. The Senate President and Majority Leader need to stop playing games with taxpayers’ health care and get it done. Two of my biggest town halls were in their districts and the response was overwhelming and undeniably in favor of expansion. Kansans are counting on us.”
100 days rebuilding Kansas
On her first full day in office, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order 19-02, reinstating protections to state employees who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Kelly submitted a balanced budget to the Kansas Legislature nearly three weeks ahead of schedule; a budget that paid down debt, invested in key priorities like schools, highways and Medicaid expansion, and provided the state with the largest ending balance in twenty years – all without a tax increase.
Kelly introduced a bipartisan plan to expand Medicaid on Kansas Day.
Kelly joined Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz in announcing plans to invest $160 million in Kansas’ transportation system, as part of the Governor’s FY 2020 budget. This included four new projects from the T-Works program.
Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers launched the Rural Healthcare Tour, as part of building the Office of Rural Prosperity. As of today, he has visited seventeen communities across Kansas: Emporia, Marysville, Garden City, Hutchinson, McPherson, Dodge City, Hays, Russell, Ottawa, El Dorado, Council Grove, Goodland, Abilene, Leavenworth, Junction City, Chanute and Pittsburg.
Kelly announced new transparency initiatives at the Department for Children and Families, designed to improve the agency’s efforts to locate children who are absent or have run away.
Kelly signs Senate Bill 9 which repaid $115 million debt to our state retirement system.
Kelly squarely established herself as the ‘education governor’ by signing a bipartisan school funding plan into law. The education plan, if approved by the Kansas Supreme Court, could bring an end to decades of legislative debates and legal challenges surrounding education funding. This followed the signing of Executive Order 19-03 in January, establishing the Governor’s Council on Education and the restoration of the previous administration’s cuts to the Children’s Initiatives Fund.
Kelly completed four town hall discussions during the 2019 legislative session. In total, over 15,000 Kansans attended these town halls in-person or online via Facebook live.
Kelly signed Executive Order 19-07, establishing the Kansas Complete Count Committee, in support of a statewide strategy that ensures every Kansan is counted in the upcoming census. The data collected in the census will inform how the federal government distributed much-needed funding for Kansas roads, schools, hospitals, emergency services and much more.
As of this day, Kelly has signed over 100 proclamations and her constituent services team has opened nearly 2,000 cases on behalf of hardworking Kansans. Of those opened cases, 1,800 have been closed.