Gov. Kelly releases statement on lawmakers passing Unemployment Legislation overhaul

Capitol Bureau

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 15, 2020, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions about the coronavirus pandemic, during a news conference at the Statehouse in Topeka,(AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly released the following statement Friday evening on the Kansas Legislature passing unemployment legislation overhaul:

“I want to thank members of the Kansas House and Senate for working with my Administration to make critical improvements at the Kansas Department of Labor. Since taking office one of my top priorities has been the replacement of the state’s 40-year-old unemployment computer system. This once-in-a-century pandemic caught many states and the federal government off-guard and left us wholly unprepared to manage the historic rise in jobless claims while at the same time combating sophisticated criminal rings that targeted state unemployment systems across the nation. It was truly a perfect storm. Throughout it all, the pandemic has taught us an important and expensive lesson—it is critical that we invest in and maintain our safety net so that they are available to citizens when they need it most. This legislation will ensure that we complete the work we started and replace the state’s antiquated unemployment system. The passage of this legislation makes clear our commitment to Kansas businesses and workers to ensure that we are prepared for whatever challenges the future may hold.”

The legislation also addresses several other unemployment components that will help Kansans who have struggled to re-renter the workforce:

  • Keeps Regular Unemployment Insurance Benefits at 26 weeks through September 5th
  • Increases the number of claimants connected to employment services at the Department of Commerce 
  • Ensures employers are held harmless for fraudulently filed claims
  • Expands the department’s capacity to address claimant appeals

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