Pandemic Relief for Kansas Small Businesses Crucial To Their Recovery


Topeka, KAN. – The Kansas Chamber and Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association and their members on Thursday encouraged Kansas Governor Laura Kelly to sign a bill she recently received meant to help thousands of small Kansas businesses recover from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Operation restrictions put in place by the state of Kansas and county and city governments helped our state fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but they also forced thousands of small businesses to close their doors, reduce their business hours, and stop their production lines,” said Kansas Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb. “A number of programs have helped Kansas workers impacted by the restrictions. If allowed to become law, the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Act will be the first state program to specifically help Kansas small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 government restriction.”

Cobb said the bill also seeks to provide a sensible legislative solution to head-off a potential flood of litigation from private businesses seeking reimbursement compensation from the state of Kansas as well as county and city governments.

In December 2020, the Omega Bootcamps v. State of Kansas lawsuit was delayed to allow time for the Kansas Legislature to find a solution to the compensation provision of the Kansas Emergency Management Act. In December 31 press release, the Attorney General’s office stated, “This lawsuit raises important public policy questions extending well beyond this individual case that would be better answered by the Legislature rather than the courts. I agree with the basic principle, reflected in current law (emphasis added) was not designed to address these sorts of business shutdown orders.”

A recent interim final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding the use of ARPA funds has raised concerns that SB 273 could violate federal guidelines by requiring Kansas cities and counties to set aside federal COVID-19 funding for the state’s relief fund.

Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association President and CEO Adam Mills said Kansas legislators anticipated a possibility of conflict with federal policy and included language in Sections 5(c) and 6(c) of the bill which clearly state that city and county COVID-19 funds should not be directed to the relief fund if the actions are “prohibited by federal law.

”We do not believe the vague language from the Treasury causes conflict if SB 273 were signed into law,” said Mills. “Rather, a veto of SB 273 will create financial uncertainty for small businesses. This crucial relief will provide the added support they need to reopen their doors and bring their operations back to full force as Kansas comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate approved Senate Bil 273 by strong margins. Governor Kelly has until May 24th to decide whether to sign the bill into law, let it become law without her signature, or to veto it.





For more information, contact:

Lisa Graham
Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association

Sherriene Jones-Sontag
Kansas Chamber

Posted May 21, 2021



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