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NEW REPORT: Public Records Show Kansas Government Arbitrarily Chose Which Businesses Could Stay Open Amid Pandemic

Jul 21, 2020 by AFP

TOPEKA, Kan. – Americans for Prosperity’s sister organization Americans for Prosperity Foundation-Kansas (AFPF-KS) released a report showing the Kansas government shut down businesses that were willing and able to comply with health and safety guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


AFPF-KS reviewed essential business approvals and denials provided by the Kansas Department of Emergency Management (KDEM) in response to a Kansas Open Records Act request. The requests to KDEM from small businesses in various industries include photography, dog grooming, furniture stores, tabletop games, vinyl records, online sales, and personal training.  These businesses showed a willingness to protect customers and employees by adhering to reasonable safeguards. But because none of their industries were chosen as “essential,” their requests were denied, cutting off these business owners’ means of providing for themselves, their employees, and their communities.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation -Kansas State Director Elizabeth Patton had this to say about the findings:

“There appears to be no rhyme or reason to Kansas’s designations of essential businesses in this process. This arbitrary and capricious process serves only to pick winners and losers. And it’s fundamentally unfair to the many struggling small business owners in our state.

“It is vital that the guidelines and rules used to allow business to operate is done fairly and efficiently. Kansas must fix the Essential Functions Framework by either allowing individualized determinations or replacing it entirely with a new framework that prioritizes the ability to operate safely rather than arbitrary designations of “essential” and “non-essential.”

Americans for Prosperity Foundation is part of the Stand Together community. Organizations within the Stand Together community called on policy makers across the country to make decisions outside the false choice of “close all businesses” or “business as usual.”