April 13, 2021
Budget Bill Highlights
I stated at the April Extension Update that things may change very quickly regarding our COVID-19 protocols. Last week, the state legislature wrapped up its session with the passing of the budget bill. There are often stipulations that are requested by legislators to be added to the bill. That was the case last week.
Section 138 of the bill included language regarding mask mandates by agencies that receive state appropriations. It states that state money cannot be forwarded to agencies that have mask mandates for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021 and all of Fiscal Year 2022 unless the legislature grants permission for that mask mandate. Sections 102 (covering the remainder of Fiscal 2021) and 103 (covering all of Fiscal 2022) refer specifically to our 4-H program, which prohibits mask and vaccination mandates in our 4-H programs.
What does this mean for K-State Research and Extension? We are obviously an organization that receives state appropriations. With that being said, the budget bill is not law - yet. The governor needs to sign it into law. If the governor signs the bill into law and does not veto any of these sections, they will become law. Should that happen, we will obviously follow the law and repeal our mask protocol. If any of these sections or the entire bill is vetoed, then the state’s veto override process begins. If and when these sections become law, we will follow the law.
Until then, we continue with our current protocols of:
• always offering virtual options when programmatically appropriate.
• masking, social distancing, and frequent hand-and-work-station-sanitization when meeting face to face.
• submitting our face-to-face notification form if the expected participation exceeds 50 participants (this changed as of our April Extension Update on April 2.
The statement I made at the April Extension Update, noting that our COVID-19 protocols may change rapidly, still applies. So, please stay tuned.