Staying at home and limiting contact with others as much as possible is by far the most effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19, so it is important that we all respect the (stay-at-home) order.

The coronavirus not only is highly contagious and can be fatal, but it also is sneaky — it can be spread by people who don’t know they are infected and have no symptoms. No one is immune.

You probably have seen this two-curve graph multiple times since COVID-19 began sweeping our planet mere weeks ago. It starkly compares what will happen to our health care system, and to the lives of our loved ones and neighbors, based on how we all do — or do not — take action to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

In my view, this is a graph that shows opportunity , not gloom and doom. It shows that, if we take protective measures — if we stay home, frequently wash our hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds and cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough — we can help ensure that the disease spreads more slowly and maybe even spreads to fewer people. As a result, our health care system won’t be nearly as overwhelmed, and will be much more likely to be able to care for people who do become ill.

Seizing that opportunity is a must. We can do it! But staying at home means many of our neighbors will take a financial gut punch as they are laid off or lose their jobs. The economies of our communities, our state and our nation are taking a hit.

So, in conjunction with steps at the federal level, your Kansas state government continues to take action to “flatten” those effects, too. I voted in favor of the following actions, which the legislature took during the past (two) weeks alone.

Ratifying Emergency Powers

HCR 5025, which passed 115-0, ratifies the declaration of emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic. It is a key part of ensuring that federal funds can flow into our state, businesses can access insurance policies that require a declaration and state resources can be quickly and efficiently used to help those who need it most.

This is a time for collaboration and cooperation, not partisanship. This bill will help us meet the challenges facing our people and our economy with swift action and collaboration between many different agencies and all branches of government.

Extending Unemployment Benefits

SB 27, which passed 119-0, extends unemployment benefits for Kansans to 26 weeks and eliminates the one-week waiting period before benefits begin. With small businesses and large industries across the state feeling the pinch of reduced customer traffic and demand, the increased benefits will help citizens weather the storm and get back on their feet more quickly when the outbreak has passed. If you have lost your job or been laid off, you can apply for benefits at www.dol.ks.gov.

Extended unemployment benefits add a layer of protection to what is coming from the federal government — an aid package reportedly in the range of $2 trillion that not only should help keep business and industry afloat, but also will put money directly into people’s pockets.

Supporting Educators

SB 142, which passed 117-2, gives education professionals the latitude to decide how best to deliver instruction and how best to help students complete this school year. Our young people now must finish their 2019-2020 studies outside of regular classrooms. Online classes and/or other teaching methods in areas where internet service isn’t readily available — and that still avoid gatherings of 10 or more people — will become the “new normal” for now. This bill allows administrators and state education professionals to make local-level decisions to ensure students continue their academic progress.

Even before we passed the bill, teachers were well on the way to reinventing educational delivery, and the people who operate school foodservice operations already were figuring out how to continue to feed children, especially those who get their only nutritious meals — sometimes their only meals — at school.

Let’s not forget our higher education institutions, Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College. They are also developing online curriculum for their students. Online classes are not new, but to implement it on such a broad scale is a challenge. We owe all our amazing educators and school staff members a debt of thanks.

Passing a State Budget

Passing a budget to fund state government operations is the one job the legislature is required to complete, and it was made all the more important by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SB 66, which passed 99-16, includes $65 million for coronavirus response and emergency disaster measures. It also preserves a responsible ending cash balance to make sure Kansas is better able to withstand the current economic downturn.

Extending Judicial Timelines

SB 102, which passed 113-5, extends judicial deadlines. Those deadlines dictate how quickly a trial or other judicial action must take place before a case must be dismissed and defendants are declared free to go without penalty.

Because of the public health crisis, juries can’t be seated in many areas of our state because enough potential jurors can’t be brought into one room. Some courthouses have been forced to close completely. Extending the deadlines means that accused people and injured parties still can have their day in court, and that justice is fairly and equally applied.

In addition to those actions, House Republicans also have created a new website, www.kansastogether.com/business, which consolidates links to resources that could be useful as we weather the health crisis.

Additional Executive Orders

In my March 18 newsletter, I mentioned several executive orders that Gov. Kelly issued in direct response to the pandemic. Since then, she has issued additional orders, which:

• Temporarily ban gatherings of 10 or more people. That’s a change from the original executive order banning gatherings of 50 or more.

• Temporarily require continuation of waste removal and recycling services.

• Temporarily expand telemedicine and address physician licensing requirements. This allows doctors licensed in other states to provide Kansans with advice and care online, and to assist in Kansas health care facilities.

• Provide conditional and temporary relief from certain motor carrier rules and regulations, thus helping to keep goods moving throughout the state.

• Extend vehicle registration renewal deadlines for state-based passenger vehicles, motorcycles, truck and trailers; extend truck, truck tractor and trailer registration renewal deadlines; extend the term of temporary license tag permits for recently purchased vehicles; and extend the term of driver licenses and state ID cards for residents whose identification expired beginning March 12 but can’t renew because of COVID-19 closures.

• Defer certain tax deadlines and payments during the pandemic.

You can read all of Gov. Kelly’s recent executive orders at governor.kansas.gov/newsroom/executive-orders.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions.

Meeting the challenge and accepting our responsibility to each other

Today, we find ourselves feeling isolated and yet also deeply connected to one another by a health threat that scientists are racing to understand. It is at times like these, when we all are facing daily challenges that are new to us, that I feel an even greater sense of responsibility to provide you with trusted information that can help encourage calm, comfort and courage. You’ll continue to hear from me regularly.

I want to hear from you, too. I welcome your thoughts, your feedback, even your worries. And I would be delighted to hear about acts of kindness and service — large or small — that are shining the beacons of hope and human kindness in your neighborhoods and beyond. With your approval, I may share a few of them in future newsletters.

In that spirit, health care workers not only deserve our thanks and respect, they need our help. In particular, Newman Regional Health needs masks.

As many have noted during the past weeks, our state motto — ad astra per aspera, or to the stars through difficulties — has never been more apt. But together, we can flatten the curve! Let’s stay home, wash our hands and cover our coughs. And as I said last week, COVID-19 is contagious. But so are generosity, patience and kindness. Let’s catch those.

(25) comments

Lou Menard

We are not imprisoned in our homes, we are safe in our homes

SnowGypsy

Governor Kelly thinks it is harmless to use unacast to track the movement of the residents of Kansas: https://www.kctv5.com/coronavirus/kansas-review-of-cellphone-gps-data-raises-privacy-concerns/article_cf34aedb-5002-52f1-9eae-1d5700e93559.html and https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kansas/articles/2020-04-02/kansas-review-of-cellphone-gps-data-raises-privacy-concerns Social distancing? I can't believe how many times I have seen the Governor standing less than 6 feet from others in her "press conferences", yet she thinks tracking everyone else is harmless, which should help her get re-elected in 2022.

sarelon

Cell phones of the residents of Kansas have always been tracked. The fact she is using that data as a tool to help gauge how many people are ignoring the warnings is a good use of that data.

The press conferences I have seen are pretty sparse compared to pre-virus days. I think history will look back and say she did an excellent job and last I saw she scores quite well in the polls. I'm sorry you're still bitter KKKobach wasn't elected.

Gary Lukert

What a Little Person You are. Littler than Small!

Gary Lukert

Governor Kelly is already the Greatest Governor in the history of the United States!

Alfred

Can you back that up? What about FDR governor of New York 1929-1932 when he became president.

Aim_High

Also Arnold Schwarzenegger the 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011 was pretty good.

Gary Lukert

First, I AM AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN A DEMOCRAT, going back to 1952...when Eisenhower was elected...I was for Stevenson (in 56, too). I didn't hate Ike...but, if he were running today, he would be hammered by Republicans being a RINO. (I was 12 in 52). So, has nothing to do with FDR. Governor Kelly is doing a very good job. And, unlike Brownback, Governor Kelly is a good, NOT-lying Decent, Moral Person. Brownback lied when he said he would eliminate the added 1 cent sales Tax. Then, wanted to keep it! His math didn't add up, and HE KNEW IT.

MaybeMidwestern

Jesse Ventura did a pretty good job in Minnesota.

Gary Lukert

Good, I riled you up. YET YOU SUCK UP ALL OF TRUMPS OUTRIGHT LIES.

Alfred

Only history will tell, if she will be considered Kansas''s greatest governor, however I do think she will be remembered come election.

Alfred

Dr Andrew Kaufman youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfxHHnbobtg

Aim_High

Thank you for providing the correct name for SnowDipsh's "sources". Andrew and Brian are super easy names to mix up at her age.

In this video Dr.Kaufman is calling covid-19 a "Scamdemic" and he is suggesting being "contagious" doesn't exist. He goes on to claim you can't transmit a virus, that airport scanners change DNA, germs don't spread by contact, and other ridiculous things. He gives just enough basic truthful information to trick people into believing the lies. Anyone else wanting to spend an hour watching it, be my guest but I would suggest you don't waste your time.

ibtirish

Those who trade liberty for security deserve neither, Who said that, Jefferson, I think he ran a waterbed store in Topeka

Gary Lukert

Yeah, I bought one from him just the other day. He still looks great...for being going on 300 years old! He did have a slight limp!

ibtirish

I live in Detroit an they say we are all gonna die. I run a delivery truck an I have yet to actually see a sick person or a body bag with my own eyes. I know Real serious , take caution , in it together ect. Tom Hanks survived an many other celebrities , lots of promising treatments, But still we should shut down the country an hide in hiddy holes

SnowGypsy

Check out Dr. Brian Kaufman, M.D. on youtube as he outlines the COVID 19 in rational terms. He is very impressive. Anything on Plan 201 is also informative. Trump needs to kick Fauci's butt to the curb as there are a number of physicians and scientists online whose opinions differ from Fauci's. And, I don't think you are supposed to talk about those that survived or tested negative as that is anti-agenda. I think the numbers the Chinese have on COVID 19 deaths may be accurate, like with the flu, but in the US, people are saying that they testing the ones that die of heart disease, etc. and claiming putting "COVID 19" as the cause of death to drive up the numbers. Far too many stories out their debunking what Fauci is saying although he has backed off on the number of deaths, and ifat 100,000, it is more in line with the flu season of 2017-2018 where 80,000 died of the flu (and that is with the vaccine which may have been the year where it was 10% effective). Fear not many are seeing through this charade. We take precautions against getting the flu every year, and that is the normal approach. Yesterday, western Emporia was filled with smoke from burning with no escaping it, you would think if we were supposed to stay home, and people's lungs may be being jeopardized that the burning would not be allowed. Hey, I love Michigan, but it apparently has changed a lot since I left there decades ago, sadly. For some reason, people have lost math skills, and you cannot compute a death rate from a virus/disease/etc. unless you know how many people had it and with 80% having a mild case they may very well ignore, and others not having symptoms at all, the math behind the death rate is highly flawed. Don't other people realize this? Fear mongering has got to be a sin, and one will "reap what they sow".

Aim_High

Searching "Dr. Brian Kaufman, M.D" on youtube as suggested brings up Dr.'s Erica Kaufman, Mark Kaufman, Andrew Kaufman, and Kyle Kaufman, but no Brian. At least in the first 50 or so results. Google finds an orthopedic surgeon named Brian Kaufman in Austin, but this guy isn't a virus expert and has only been in practice 6 years. I think I'll stick with Dr. Fauci.

Plan 201 is unrelated to coronavirus, just like the flu. Two minutes of research...

We also don't know how many people contract flu and go untreated every year, so I guess by your logic the flu death rates are also flawed? Thankfully smart people with great math skills can still extrapolate the answer within a small margin of error from the data we do have.

Also if you have heart disease, and contract the coronavirus and die, the cause of death would be coronavirus... I'd be willing to look at the source for your claim of people without covid19 being counted toward the death toll if that's what you're suggesting.

SnowGypsy

Not sure how the name changed as it read "Dr. Andrew Kaufman" when I pushed "Post Comment". And, don't even make a comment about that because I got "change password" without requesting one, so what is possible? 80,000 people died per the CDC in the 2017-2018 influenza season, 22,000 so far in this season which started in October 2019. And, for your math, since you need someone "smart": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UO3Wd5urg0 And with plan 201, the similarities are quite striking: http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/scenario.html Over 400 people a day die in NYC on a good day before the "situation" with COVID 19. The tests are not reliable. This should, however, take care of much of the homeless problems in both NYC and parts of CA, which should have been taken care of in a different way. You go ahead and stick with Dr. Fauci, many people are content to stay with the herd. Yes, the flu death percentages may be flawed, but not the actual numbers when it comes to who died, 80,000 is 80,000 deaths and Fauci started with 1 million if we infringed on people's freedoms and 2 million if we didn't, and now, he is saying it might be ten times the death rate of the flu which equates to 1% of those serious enough to report it, not 1% of the population, so 100,000 vs 80,000 (flu season) when we didn't shutdown the economy and take away freedom of movement of our citizens.

Gary Lukert

What a Bunch of Garbage...well, I read less than 3 lines. The stench got so heavy, I puked and quit reading.

SnowGypsy

I didn't see anything about the Governor using Unacast to track residents through their cell phones. I think many are concerned about that. Lyon County received a grade of "F" which may result in more draconian restrictions from the public health officer, which may be why restrictions/fines/jail time seem over-the-top for the area. Considering that there are two highways that cross, the increased number of trucks running supplies in, etc. I do not see that Unacast would be a reliable source for limiting the current behavior of residents. Comparing old surveillance with that after the restrictions in movement of residents is like comparing "apples and oranges". I do appreciate this update being a little more positive as MSM does nothing more than spread doom and gloom. I hope that the Governor's use of Unacast is called into question and explained as I believe it is faulty and should not be used to suppress the rights of citizens.

Aim_High

Let me make this misinformation a little more fun to read!

ThE GoVeRNoR Is UsiNg UnAcAsT tO tRaCk ResIdEntS tHroUgh tHeIr cEll PhOneS!

CeLl PhOnE GpS Is NoT AccUrAte EnoUgh tO dIFFeReNTiAtE HigHWaY TrafFiC

ComPaRiNg PrE-LoCkDOwN DaTa To POsT LocKdOwN DaTa Is ApPleS tO OraNgEs.

ThE GovErnOrS "UsE" oF UnACaSt WaS tHe DecIdInG FaCtoR FoR SuPpReSsInG tHe RiGhTs oF CiTizEnS.

I LiKe TurTleS.

SnowGypsy

You need a hobby, maybe stringing beads? KVOE has the report, and here is an article that actually goes more in detail: https://www.mcphersonsentinel.com/news/20200402/kansas-coronavirus-update-state-looks-for-compliance-in-gps-data-gleaned-from-cellphones-infections-at-552-with-14-deaths I have noticed that some people are unsure as to when to capitalize and when not to, thus you are an excellent example of that issue. Seriously, I don't understand how you can have such limited information about the world around you. "Ignorance is bliss"? It makes sense that you like turtles, easy to keep up with!

Aim_High

Your link says exactly zero about Governor Kelly using UnaCast to track citizens, or highway traffic impacting the data. Nice try tho... The entire rest of your comment is just the usual snobby ramblings. I can promise you nobody but yourself changed Dr. Kaufmans name from Andrew to Brian.... you might want to talk to your doctor about the early symptoms of dementia.

SnowGypsy

Aim_High: I typed Andrew in and there would be only one way that you could know for sure what it said, and you were right there to ramble on with a list of names. I am sure that Dr. Andrew Kaufman's info would work against your political agenda, yeah, everyone knows about that. Reading comprehension doesn't appear to be your thing. I'm guessing you are a high school student and getting bored with the stay-at-home order as you have all the "signs". Maybe help mom around the house, and the grass will need mowing soon. Keep posting though as the entertainment value of your posts is "priceless"!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.