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Dear Friend:
I don’t know how you feel, but I appreciate Friday more than ever these days. Yes, it is Friday, April 24, 2020, and we are more than six weeks into this pandemic crisis. Kansas cases and deaths continue to rise, but at a reasonable pace, thanks to your commitment to protecting your neighbors and yourselves by staying at home and practicing social distancing while out to essential businesses.
 
People often ask what I am up to during the time at home. The time fills fast and frankly, I am busier than pre-Covid-19. Most days I am working on constituent issues and concerns, plus attending Zoom meetings. The bulk of my constituent work is spent helping people with being able to file for unemployment. Things are much better on the Department of Labor website, but please reach out to me if you need assistance.  
 
Many others reach out to share thoughts and ideas on how to handle the pandemic, or unique situations exacerbated by the economic shutdown.
 
Senator John Skubal and I are holding virtual town hall meetings with special guests each week (the day and time varies upon the availability of our guests).  

About Jan

5th Generation Kansan
3rd Generation State Representative
Retired Fortune 100 Business Consultant
Congregational Care Minister, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Husband to Jeanne
Father of 3 girls
Grandpa to 6

About the 20th

Thanks to Commerce Secretary David Toland for being our special guest on this week's Zoom town hall.  He has some great insights into the next stimulus bill, and updates on what his department is doing to keep the economy moving while many of us are not working. You can view the town hall here: 
On the Home Front
Our daughters and their families decided that a daily family exercise program on Zoom is a good idea. It's bad enough that Jeanne and I are at least 20+ years older than the next participants, but the teenaged grandkids are putting together the exercise regimen. But...it was a lot of fun and much needed exercise.


It was also nice to talk to KSHB Channel 41 for allowing me to share my thoughts on "reopening" the state soon.
Veto Session Delayed
The Kansas Legislature was set to convene for Veto Session on Monday, April 27, but it has been postponed due to the stay-at-home order extension to May 3. The Legislative Coordinating Council (LCC) will meet on May 6 and determine our next steps. The LCC includes the Republican and Democrat leadership teams from the House and Senate. 
  • About 65% of the legislature is in the high-risk category based on age alone, not to mention non-age related comorbidities like immune deficiencies and asthma.
  • The Kansas Constitution says the legislature must meet in the state capital – with an “a” and not an “o”, indicating the Capitol building itself, but rather the capital city. We have heard rumors of gathering in Topeka and getting on a Zoom call. This would also need to include all of the staff required to conduct legislative business.
  • One interpretation of this provision indicates votes can only happen inside the House and Senate chambers for recording purposes. However, the Kansas Senate does not have an electronic board like the House. They submit their votes by voice, and votes are recorded by staff. The same could be done for the House instead of risking virus spread.
For Business Owners
The Department of Commerce launched a live chat feature on their website. Department employees are available to answer your questions about SBA grants and loans, and other COVID response opportunities weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. You will also find a succinct and easy-to-navigate website specifically targeted to COVID recovery.
 
Also, if you are a producer of PPE or other equipment in high demand during this time, or you have converted your business to a new product line, be sure to add your business to the BioKansas Supply Hub to find businesses with products you need, or alert others to products you have that might be needed by others.
Do you need work?
Businesses across the state have ramped up to meet the COVID need by creating more of what they already do or transitioning to new products to help with supply. If you need a job, thousands are available in this new environment. Click here to learn more about the new job opportunities.
I'm from the government...
Typically, the feds are slow to act and have many strings attached when they do. However, the U.S. Senate and House have worked well to produce three stimulus packages (so far) and each has had a significant and quick impact on our state. With the first package, Kansas is set to receive about $1.2 billion:
  • $110 million to Johnson County
  • $100 million to Sedgwick County
  • $1 billion spread across the rest of the state.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Kansas businesses were more prepared to apply for the PPP and received the lion’s share, considering our population. In our Zoom town hall this week, Commerce Secretary David Toland said Kansas was #9 in per capita PPP funding, and that 26,000 Kansas businesses received assistance. 
  • NEED HELP APPLYING? The Secretary encourages businesses to contact their lenders now to be ready and at the front of the line when the new money is authorized. You can also get advice through the live chat described above.
COVID-19 Update
Yours in service, ad astra per aspera!

Jan Kessinger
State Representative
Kansas House District 20
Serving Overland Park & Leawood
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