Kelly bans TikTok from state-owned devices in executive branch, says information could be leaked to China

by Rachel Mipro, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — Citing security concerns, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly banned TikTok from all state-owned devices in the executive branch and prohibited access to the social media platform on the state network

Kelly signed an executive order banning it Wednesday, saying she was concerned about the security risks the app poses. TikTok’s parent company is run by a Chinese-owned company and has been under increased scrutiny in over the last month or so, with the FBI warning that user data is potentially being shared with the Chinese government.

Congress recently implemented a TikTok ban on federal devices in the House of Representatives, with some lawmakers in the Senate calling for a complete ban throughout the United States. Several states — including Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska — have security policies covering TikTok in place.

The ban applies to all state-owned devices in the executive branch agencies, boards and commissions. Kelly said she encouraged other state entities, such as the Board of Regents, the Office of the Attorney General and the legislative branch, to follow her lead.

“Today, I am taking common-sense steps to protect Kansans’ privacy and security,” Kelly said in a news release. “TikTok mines users’ data and potentially makes it available to the Chinese Communist Party — a threat recognized by a growing group of bipartisan leaders across the United States.”

Under the order, active official State of Kansas TikTok accounts will be removed, along with any TikTok applications on state-owned devices. Agencies have 30 days to begin blocking TikTok, and access to the TikTok website from state-managed networks will be blocked, with mechanisms put into place to prevent future app installation.

Kansas Reflector stories, www.kansasreflectorcom, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
See more at https://kansasreflector.com/briefs/kelly-bans-tiktok-from-state-owned-devices-in-executive-branch-says-information-could-be-leaked-to-china/

Gov. Kelly searching for new secretaries of transportation, administration and a fire marshal

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s list of second-term executive branch vacancies climbed to three with retirement of the state’s fire marshal.

Kelly, who will be sworn into office Jan. 9 following reelection in November, must replace state fire marshal Doug Jorgensen, who was among the few holdovers from the administrations of Republican Govs. Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer.

Kelly has also launched the search for individuals to nominate for Cabinet posts in the departments of transportation and administration.

She is expected to wait until January to nominate replacements for Julie Lorenz, who led the Kansas Department of Transportation, and DeAngela Burns-Wallace, who was secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration. Both appointees would be subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate.

Jorgensen, appointed fire marshal by Brownback in 2011, was at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for 28 years. He was retained when Kelly took office in 2019.

“He has worked tirelessly to protect Kansans and property from devastating fires and to support communities in times of loss,” Kelly said.

Jorgensen will retire in January, but temporarily serve as deputy fire marshal to assist with transition to his replacement. The Kansas Senate also has confirmation authority over fire marshal appointments.

Three years ago, Jorgensen raised questions about shallow investigation of fatal fires in Kansas. He told state legislators cases were “falling through the cracks.” He pointed to six fatalities — including one homicide — resulting from explosions or fires in a one-year period that hadn’t been thoroughly investigated.

In 2013, he generated controversy by proposing the fire marshal’s office resume oversight of the explosive industry in Kansas. The office lost power to issue permits in 2010 when an assistant attorney general inadvertently deleted that regulatory authority. Explosive industry representatives objected to his proposal.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving three governors as the State Fire Marshal for the last eleven years, and most importantly, supporting the state fire service and helping keep the citizens of Kansas safe,” Jorgensen said.

Kansas Reflector stories, www.kansasreflector.com, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

See more at https://kansasreflector.com/briefs/gov-kelly-searching-for-new-secretaries-of-transportation-administration-and-a-fire-marshal/

Gov. Kelly announces $500 million tax cut plan

Gov. Laura Kelly today announced a $500 million tax cut plan in Roeland Park. (Photo from Gov. Kelly’s office)

Gov. Laura Kelly today released a three-part tax cut plan to save Kansans more than $500 million over the next three years.

The plan delivers on campaign promises including a push to immediately “axe the tax” on groceries, eliminate the state sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products, create an annual state sales tax holiday for school supplies and cut taxes on social security for retirees.


“I’m pleased to introduce a plan that axes taxes for Kansas families and retirees in a way that keeps our state’s economy and budget strong,” Gov. Kelly said in her announcement at Roeland Park. “By cutting taxes on groceries and diapers, school supplies, and social security, this plan will put money back in Kansans’ pockets and create real savings for those who need it most.”

Last spring, Governor Kelly signed the “Axe the Food Tax” bill to gradually eliminate the 6.5% state sales tax on groceries, which is one of the highest in the country, starting Jan. 1, 2023. If passed, the first part of her ‘Axing Your Taxes’ plan would supersede the gradual reduction and immediately zero-out the tax – as well as the state sales tax on other essentials like diapers and feminine hygiene products, which were not included in the 2022 bill. The bill draft is at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/KSOG/2022/12/19/file_attachments/2359044/Food,%20Diapers%20Sales%20Tax%20GO.pdf.

The second part of the ‘Axing Your Taxes’ plan would create a three-day zero percent sales tax holiday on school supplies, personal computers, instructional materials, and art supplies, every August. The holiday would provide relief to families and teachers gearing up for back to school and keep Kansas retailers competitive to surrounding states. The bill draft is at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/KSOG/2022/12/19/file_attachments/2359061/School%20Sales%20Tax%20Holiday%20GO.pdf

Right now, Kansans earning less than $75,000 annually do not pay state income tax on social security income. But once they earn a dollar more – including through investments and life insurance policies – the entirety of their social security income is subject to state income tax. The third part of Gov. Kelly’s ‘Axing Your Taxes’ plan would smooth out that cliff so no Kansan making under $100,000 pays full taxes on social security. The bill draft is at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/KSOG/2022/12/19/file_attachments/2359063/Social%20Security%20Cliff%20GO.pdf

“I am calling on legislators of both parties to support these bills and provide practical financial relief to families and retirees across our great state,” Gov. Kelly said.

  • Information from Gov. Kelly’s office