Lawmakers react to Gov. Kelly rescinding food stamp policy


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A fight over welfare in Kansas has come to an end.

On Thursday, Governor Laura Kelly gave in to Republicans by eliminating an extension that gave benefits for thousands of poor people in the state.

Many Republicans accused Gov. Kelly of breaking the law.

The new policy would let people without jobs and without children who have gone over their food stamp allotment to get a three-month extension.

It went into effect in July but will be stopped now.

It would’ve provided up to 5,500 people in the state over 100 dollars for food a month.

“It’s clearly against the law what she was trying to do, she realized that so she withdrew it.”

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning

“If the governor wants to try and expand those welfare benefits, she needs to bring a bill next year and have it done in standard fashion,” said Denning.

The attorney general and top Republicans say Kansas law is clear. Thursday Kelly said she didn’t want to use tax dollars to fight the case in court, so she removed the extension.

“How unfortunate that the attorney general saw fit to embrace such a mean spirited position rather than acknowledge the good we were trying to achieve in helping those less fortunate,” said Kelly.

She went on to say restrictions on aid from previous administrations like this one are hurting Kansans.

“I think it did exactly what the supporters of it wanted it to do which was to deny assistance to poor people, and that worked,” said Kelly.

But many Republicans disagree.

“I think it’s the appropriate approach to take at this point in time, if we had an unemployment rate of five or six percent, might come with a different outcome, but with more jobs and folks can fill them, I think we did the right approach,” said Denning.

The extension did not cost the state more money. Funding for food stamps comes from the federal government.

The director of the Department for Children and Families said certain people need the help.

“I think it’s important to understand really the struggles that vulnerable Kansans face each day, when people are really only a day away from being out of a job, if there’s a sick parent, if a vehicle breaks down, all of those things, so that was really our intent, again it was limited one time, regret that we’re not able to move forward with it,” said Secretary Laura Howard.

Governor Kelly says she hopes to work with the legislature to make changes to the state laws giving her administration more power to create similar policies.

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