Capitol Comments Articles
Legislative Budget Committee Discusses COVID-19 and State Budget
KansasCapitol (Oct. 8, 2020) – The Legislative Budget Committee, chaired by Senator Carolyn McGinn (R-Sedgwick), met this week to hear updates on the state's budget and COVID-19 activities. They began with a review of the funds reappropriated from the 2020 state fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2020, to the 2021 fiscal year. While $337.7 million was reappropriated in agencies across the state, the Governor's allotment to help balance the budget swept $218.2 million. The committee then heard an update on testing in nursing homes including testing and visitor requirements, and SPARK task force allocations. They went on to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the courts. The result has been fewer case filings, nearly 110,000 virtual hearings across the state and delays in jury trials. The committee also reviewed the state's COVID-19 testing strategy, which is expected to increase the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's lab testing capacity to 5,000 tests per day by mid-October. An update on COVID-19 wastewater testing followed. It was reported that testing in Lawrence and national results showed a one-week lead between wastewater detection of COVID-19 and a rise in the reported positive cases in the area. In addition to the 16 cities that have been tested over the summer, wastewater from the largest town or county seat in the 95 rural counties will be tested during October and November. The next meeting of the committee will be Nov. 13.