Governor Kelly Signs Omnibus Budget, Increases Funding for Higher Education, Infrastructure, Student Mental Health Programs

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed Senate Bill 25, the Omnibus Budget, which passed with bipartisan support. The budget increases funding for higher education, invests in local infrastructure, expands mental health resources for students, and provides a pay increase for the state workforce.

“I am proud of this bipartisan, fiscally responsible budget that will bolster our state’s workforce, improve roads and expand high-speed internet, and provide essential mental health resources for our students,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This funding will support my administration’s efforts to continue growing the economy and making every Kansas community an attractive place to live and raise a family.”

The budget:

Increases pay for state employees:  These salary increases improve pay rates for state employees who are earning below the market rate for similar jobs in the Kansas private sector. This increased pay will help recruit, retain, and recognize the work of employees who deliver public safety, infrastructure projects, mental health resources, education, and services to businesses and families across the state.

Promotes STEM workforce training opportunities: These investments expand opportunities for students training in emerging technologies, science, engineering, math, science, and technical trades. These programs are instrumental in attracting students to Kansas and preparing them to participate in our expanding economy and workforce.

Supports local infrastructure projects: The Build Kansas Matching Grant Fund will provide a mechanism to provide state matching dollars to Kansas communities for projects approved under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation (BIL). These funds will enable Kansas communities to move forward with infrastructure projects, including improvements to water, transportation, energy, cybersecurity, and high-speed internet. A portion of these dollars will also be used by the Kansas Infrastructure Hub to provide resources and technical assistance to communities seeking to access BIL funding.

Expands mental health resources for students: $13.5 million will be invested in the Mental Health Intervention Pilot to further expand access to behavioral health services for students. With this funding, the Kelly administration has invested over $46 million in this pilot, resulting in the program reaching 5,000 students and nearly 70 school districts annually.

Invests in services for elderly and disabled Kansans: The budget includes funding for services for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including funding for an early childhood program for children with blindness or visual impairments. It also increases funding for Senior Nutrition (Meals on Wheels) and expands the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly to additional counties.

Governor Kelly also line-item vetoed certain aspects of the bill. Find more information and her veto messages here.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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