Governor signs bill making rural housing more affordable
Governor Laura Kelly signed House Bill 2237 to help address the state’s housing shortage by investing in and incentivizing residential development – especially in rural areas.
“By expanding access to quality, affordable housing, communities and businesses can better recruit and retain workers, families and entrepreneurs in rural Kansas,” Governor Kelly said. “This bill gives our rural communities more tools to spur economic growth vital to the economy.”
When Governor Kelly took office, she created the Office of Rural Prosperity to address the needs of rural Kansas communities. That included conducting the first statewide housing needs assessment completed in nearly 30 years which highlighted the need for the expansion of affordable housing, especially in rural communities.
“Living in Montgomery County, I know how important it is for rural communities to have available the tools needed to redevelop their historic main streets and provide new and renovated housing options for their workforce, seniors and young families,” said Representative Jim Kelly, Chair of the House Committee on Financial Institutions and Rural Development. “I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of a team with so many engaged and dedicated leaders who contributed to this bill. With this Mega Housing Package, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, and the new housing investments made in this year’s budget, a huge step forward has been taken to improve the lives of Kansans for many years to come.”
“The Wichita Area Builders Association, in conjunction with the Kansas Building Industry Association, appreciate the leadership shown by Governor Kelly and the Office of Rural Prosperity in choosing to undertake a statewide housing study last year,” said Wess Galyon, President and CEO of the Wichita Area Builders Association. “That study identified a host of changes necessary to jumpstart the development of workforce housing that is so critical to the continued economic development of our state. We were excited to work with other stakeholders, the Legislature and the governor to craft a housing package that eliminates barriers and creates immediate growth opportunities. When combined with targeted housing funding provided by state leaders, HB 2237 provides an opportunity for Kansas communities, large and small, urban, and rural, to attract new businesses by incentivizing the housing opportunities necessary to meet the needs of its citizens.”
Beyond that, the bill also expands eligibility for the Child Day Care Services Assistance Tax Credit so even more Kansas businesses can assist employees with child care services.
“One of the major barriers to entry in the workforce is the incredibly high cost of child care,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes. “The expanded child care tax credit provides incentives for employers from C corps to mom-and-pop operations to ensure employees don’t have to choose between having a career and having a family. Policies like these are crucial to ensuring that all Kansans – and particularly Kansas women – have the opportunity to participate fully in our society and economy.”
“By taking advantage of these opportunities, investors, developers and businesses across the state will play an important role in helping Kansas communities thrive,” said Senator Rob Olson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs. “I am proud to be part of the bipartisanship effort to help our rural communities grow.”
“We’ve consistently heard from the business community that access to childcare is a challenge for their employees. We applaud the Kansas Legislature and Governor Kelly for enacting HB 2237 and providing another tool to help employers secure the staffing they need to resume full operational capacity,” said Kevin Walker, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce.
“The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce strongly believes a robust and quality childcare and early childhood education infrastructure is not only vital to ensuring folks can find and retain work, but is also critical for our future workforce,” said Joe Reardon, President and CEO, The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “HB2337 will allow more employers to offer childcare for their employees which will help hardworking families stay employed and help drive innovative solutions to the childcare-shortage crisis facing our communities. It’s also a sound economic investment: studies show that, for every dollar spent, there is a return on investment of $13.”
Governor Kelly also signed the following bills:
Senate Bill 261: Prohibits the use of identifiable meat terms on the labels of meat analogs when such labels do not include proper qualifying language to indicate that such products do not contain meat.
Senate Bill 366: Creates a mechanism to seek relief from the Kansas Offender Registration Act requirements for drug offenders, allowing expungement of offenses when such relief is granted and requires registration as a sex offender for certain violations of the crimes of breach of privacy, internet trading in child pornography and aggravated internet trading in child pornography.