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Governor: Kansas will keep providing extra COVID food aid

June 29, 2021 GMT
In this photo from Thursday, June 10, 2021, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., about the state of emergency in place for the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic governor wants to keep the state of emergency in place at least through August 2021, but top Republican lawmakers are deeply skeptical and have the power to end it. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
In this photo from Thursday, June 10, 2021, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., about the state of emergency in place for the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic governor wants to keep the state of emergency in place at least through August 2021, but top Republican lawmakers are deeply skeptical and have the power to end it. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly and her top welfare official moved Tuesday to keep thousands of families from losing extra food aid because Kansas is no longer under a state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement that Kelly plans to continue the extra $14.5 million a month in aid came two weeks after top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature ended the state of emergency.

The Democratic governor’s chief of staff had told reporters that the extra aid tied to the pandemic would be cut off once the state of emergency expired June 15. But Republican leaders had argued that the state could continue to manage its response to the pandemic without an emergency declaration.

The extra aid goes to about 63,000 households and provides an average of $230 a month.

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Laura Howard, the top administrator at the state Department for Children and Families, said the federal government promised to continue providing the money for the extra benefits, possibly through the end of the year.

Kelly directed the department to continue the extra benefits, and Howard issued the necessary administrative order.