Kansas Republican demands Governor stop telling poor people they have the right to receive public assistance

Kansas Republican demands Governor stop telling poor people they have the right to receive public assistance
Portrait of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is under fire from Republican leadership this morning, with Republicans attacking the governor’s administration for informing people who are poor that they do have rights to receive public assistance for themselves.


Under tighter access to benefits as well as debates over what exactly constitutes an able-bodied adult, states were provided exemptions to federal rules in providing access to non-working adults who, for many different reasons, may have difficulty sustaining 20 hours of work per week, a minimum to receive social services.

Kansas DCF has taken to informing residents that waivers for extended services are available, In a memo sent out to DCF officers, the Kelly administration on May 17, 2019, informed workers for DCF that more than 58,000 unused exemptions existed, and that services could be extended depending on criteria.

Kansas Republicans responded by sending out fundraising email, attacking the Governor for informing people that extended services may be available and demanding an end to working on public awareness.

The Kansas City Star gives us Leader Hawkins’ response to the administration’s efforts:

“I simply cannot remain silent while her administration’s latest directive is implemented in clear violation of Kansas law,” Hawkins said of Kelly in a statement.

In a letter to Kelly, he said DCF appeared intent on minimizing the work requirement’s effectiveness.

DCF said state law prohibits the agency from requesting waivers or programs that run counter to federal welfare rules and that the exemptions are neither. The agency said it plans to continue its policy, which will provide recipients without jobs and children an additional three months of assistance later this year.

“The exemption would benefit youth aging out of foster care and homeless individuals and at a time of low unemployment and with consideration to the economy and trade mitigation benefits, DCF felt this was a prudent policy change. The program is 100 percent federally funded,” a DCF statement said.

The Kansas Republican Party sought to raise money in wake of the dispute.

“It is essential that the Kansas Republican Party can tell as many Kansas voters about this illegal policy as soon as possible,” an email from the party said Tuesday.

Kansas, which now has 49 counties classified as disaster areas, with businesses destroyed, massive flooding and other structural damage to the state, is looking to provide some stability into the marketplace.

From KWCH News on May 29:

With widespread flooding causing damage and evacuations, Kansas Governor's state of disaster declaration now includes 49 counties across the state.

The Adjutant General's Office says Hodgeman, Linn and Marshall counties are the latest addition to the declaration Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly initially signed on May 9.

Also included in the declaration are Allen, Anderson, Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Elk, Franklin, Geary, Greenwood, Harvey, Jefferson, Kingman, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Saline, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Wilson, and Woodson counties.

Citing economic conditions, the impact of trade fights spawned by the administration, economic pressures related to ongoing natural disasters, individuals exiting foster care and homelessness, the Governor’s office opted for a fairly pro-life position of compassion.

Leader Hawkins legendary ability to stay silent on issues — like spearheading a pen-pal letter-writing campaign to the NY Legislature over their abortion laws — simply couldn’t be contained.

As Kansans pull themselves out of statewide disasters and face down economic difficulties brought on by trade wars, it seems as though for the good leader, the most pressing issue may be the need to deny food support to needy Kansans, at a direct added cost to Kansas taxpayers of, well, zero.

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