Kansas plan could give $500M in COVID relief to businesses

Capitol Bureau

Reps. Avery Anderson, left, R-Newton, and Fred Patton, R-Topeka, confer in a Statehouse hallway during talks between the House and Senate over COVID-19 legislation, Friday, May 7, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Republicans have agreed on a plan to set aside $500 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to compensate small businesses harmed by pandemic restrictions. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republicans have pushed a plan through the Kansas Legislature that could provide roughly $500 million to small businesses to offset losses tied to state and local restrictions meant to check COVID-19′s spread last year.

The measure approved early Saturday would require the state, cities and counties to set aside part of their federal coronavirus relief funds to pay claims from small businesses.

Supporters said creating a system for paying claims could avoid a larger total payout from potential lawsuits, but doing so would help small businesses that cannot afford to hire attorneys to sue state or local officials.

Critics questioned whether the claims process would be transparent enough.

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