Category Archives: Kansas

Rural By Choice Applications Sought

Commerce Department Launches Rural by Choice Champions Program

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced a unique opportunity for rural communities throughout the state – the Rural by Choice Champions Program (Rural Champions). This one-year pilot program will create a network of grassroots individuals who will tackle critical community projects and identified needs integral for rural prosperity. Rural Champions, which was made possible through a collaboration with the Patterson Family Foundation, will help drive success when there is a lack of capital or other resources to complete the project.

“We are continually looking at ways to keep and attract individuals that want to live and work in our rural communities throughout the state,” said Lt. Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland. “Through this program and other initiatives, such as our Grassroots Economic Development Program and Rural Opportunity Zones, we are focusing on removing barriers to success in rural Kansas.”

In 2021, Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP), in partnership with the Kansas Sampler Foundation, outlined the recommendation for Rural Champions in its Power Up and Go report, an effort begun by former Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers prior to his appointment as State Treasurer. The need for the Rural Champions program was identified through surveys and interviews of more than 600 rural Kansans under the age of 40 as something that would “move the needle” toward success.

In order to apply, communities describe current activities, challenges that are stifling progress and how a Rural Champion would benefit advancement. Twelve communities will be selected for the pilot program and will receive a stipend for wages for the Rural Champion. Projects could include anything that the community designates as critically needed, including, but not limited to:

  • a new childcare facility or rehabilitating a building to support a childcare center;
  • health and wellness projects such as a trail system or shared bike program;
  • rehabilitation or construction of new housing units; or
  • entrepreneurship development.

Eligible applicants, which must be located in counties with less than 40,000 population, include:

  • Cities or Counties;
  • Economic/Community Development Organizations;
  • Community Foundations;
  • Local Chambers of Commerce or Tourism groups;
  • Nonprofit organizations including 501(c)3 or 501(c)6;
  • Main Street organizations or affiliates; or
  • Federally recognized tribal communities.

“The program was designed to help revitalize rural communities,” said Trisha Purdon, Director Office of Rural Prosperity. “The Rural Champions will play an integral part in identifying projects – and then making them happen. Every community is unique, and this program provides the flexibility to develop a project that fits their goals.”

Rural Champions will receive direct guidance and technical assistance from the Office of Rural Prosperity to ensure project success. The Office of Rural Prosperity will assist with the development of a rural community playbook to share with other communities for future projects.

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 16. An informational webinar will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 18. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit our website at Rural Champions will be announced in late September and will have one year to complete their projects.

Questions can be directed to Kerri Falletti at [email protected] or 785-207-5206.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce:

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.

About the Patterson Family Foundation:

Where you come from says a lot about you. But what you do says even more. The Patterson Family Foundation is a family-led foundation extending the legacy of Neal and Jeanne Patterson to improve the rural communities we come from through healthcare, education, economic opportunity, and beyond. Learn more about the Patterson Family Foundation and how it can help your community at

KDOT’s Cost Share Program applications being accepted

The Kansas Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for the fall 2022 round of the agency’s Cost Share Program. More than $100 million has been given to Kansas communities since the Cost Share Program’s began in 2019.

The Cost Share Program provides financial assistance to local entities for construction projects that improve safety, leverage state funds to increase total transportation investment and help both rural and urban areas of the state improve the transportation system. This is the seventh round of projects to receive funding.

“The continuation of the Cost Share Program shows KDOT’s ongoing commitment to improving transportation and creating economic growth and job opportunities across Kansas,” said Michelle Needham, Economic Development Programs Manager. “Past Cost Share participants have proven this program to be the financial boost that many small and large communities needed to achieve their project goals.”

An informational webinar on the program will take place on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. The application process will be discussed, and attendees can ask questions. To register for the webinar, go to:

All transportation projects are eligible, including roadway (on and off the state system), rail, airport, bicycle/pedestrian and public transit. Candidate projects should include investments that provide transportation benefits and are not eligible for other KDOT programs. This round of grant funding has an overall budget of $11 million, with a maximum awarded amount of $1.5 million per project.

The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 15. More information and the application link are on KDOT’s website at All applications will be completed online, and a sample PDF application will be available for preview.

Please contact Needham, [email protected], with any questions.

New Fed Infrastructure Law Will Aid KS Bridge Improvements

KDOT local bridge programs

reshaped to take advantage of federal funds

TOPEKA – Kansas cities and counties needing to replace or repair locally owned bridges have a supportive partner in the Kansas Department of Transportation. The agency is improving programs and collaborating with partners to take advantage of new revenue streams generated by the federally approved Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

KDOT has reshaped two local bridge improvement programs which focus on city and county bridges to include approximately $137.5 million in BIL funds over the next five years. The increase will more than double and triple local bridge improvement funds currently available in these programs under the existing Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program (IKE).

  • KDOT’s Off-System Bridge Program (OSB) will be expanded from $8 million in annual funding to $20.5 million. (Starting Federal Fiscal Year 2024)
  • The Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program (KLBIP) will increase from $5 million annually to $20 million. (Starting State Fiscal Year 2023)

The application process for both programs is now underway. Awarded funds will be directed to rebuild and rehabilitate bridges located on roads both on and off the federal-aid system.

“We’re being both smart and pro-active by improving programs, streamlining processes and helping our partners make the most of these new Federal funds,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz. “KDOT’s Bureau of Local Projects is administering these funds through existing IKE programs in order to minimize paperwork and to expedite the launch of projects.”

KDOT will cap individual projects at $2 million for the combined state and federal funds under OSB. The local match requirements for the KLBIP program are based on a sliding scale that takes population density of the county. Both programs award funds through a competitive application process.

Both the OSB and KLBIP have similar-yet-different bridge eligibility requirements targeted for city and county bridges not on the state highway system and in need of replacement or repair.

Applications for both programs must be received by Friday, Sept. 2. Additional information is available by contacting either:


KS Tax Collections Surpass Estimate

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Kansas Begins Fiscal Year 2023 with Tax Collections Surpassing Estimate by $127.6M

~~July Marks 24th Month In a Row that Kansas Tax Collections
Have Surpassed Estimates~~

TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas July tax receipts. In total, Kansas saw its total tax receipts for July exceed the estimate by $127.6 million with $586.2 million collected.

“Due to my administration’s record-setting economic development successes over the last three and a half years, July marks the 24th month in a row that Kansas tax receipts have surpassed expectations,” said Governor Kelly. “That represents more money our state can use to continue fully funding our schools, improving our roads, investing in law enforcement, and expanding health care.”

Individual income tax receipts were $300.5 million, or 15.6%, over the $260.0 million estimate. Corporate income tax collections were $36.6 million, or 66.4%, over the estimate. Higher-than-expected corporate tax receipts reflect continued optimism that corporate profits will remain stable in the new fiscal year.

A comparison of July’s receipts to those of July of 2021 is not meaningful because a statutory change during the 2022 Legislative Session had the effect of deferring the collection of certain sales and use tax receipts from July to August beginning this fiscal year.

Retail sales tax collections were $174.2 million, or 39.4%, over the estimate.  Compensating use tax collections were $21.0 million, or 65.7%, over the estimate with $53.0 million collected.  Actual receipts for the two tax types were less than July 2021 due to a change in the timing for remittances by large retailers resulting from the enactment of 2022 H.B. 2136.

The complete July 2022 Revenue Report can be found here.

To The Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses 2022 Nominations Now Open

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2022 To The Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses Awards. The annual awards program recognizes businesses across the state for the valuable contributions they make to the Kansas economy and to the well-being of their communities.

“Kansas businesses and businesspeople are the lifeblood of our state. They are what make our state strong, prosperous and successful – and such a great place to live and work,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “The successes of the Kansas business community need to be shared, so I encourage everyone to nominate a company or individual for this important recognition.”

Companies, organizations and individuals can be nominated in the following categories:

  • AgriBusiness (New award for 2022!) – companies that stand out in the agribusiness industry – including agricultural production, products and services and agri-tourism.
  • Apprenticeship Champions and Partners (New award for 2022!) – companies that excel in providing registered apprenticeship programs in Kansas.
  • Business Innovation – companies from any sector incorporating innovative technologies in their business.
  • Cool Things Made in Kansas (New award for 2022!) – companies that make, produce or sell uniquely Kansas items.
  • Healthcare/Nonprofit – noteworthy services provided by either healthcare facilities or nonprofit organizations.
  • Manufacturing/Distribution – outstanding achievement for companies large and small involved in manufacturing and distribution.
  • Non-Traditional Talent Pools (New award for 2022!) – companies that have gone above and beyond to hire veterans, those with prior involvement in the justice system, youth, seniors or individuals with disabilities.
  • Retail/Service – outstanding achievement by businesses selling goods, products and/or services.
  • Under 30 Entrepreneurs – young entrepreneurs achieving business success under the age of 30.
  • Welcome Back – entrepreneurs and businesspeople who once left Kansas but have returned to make their mark in the Sunflower State.

The Department of Commerce will host regional luncheons to honor the 2022 Merit and Regional Award winners in September. Regional Award winners will be eligible to receive the statewide award in their respective category and will be invited to attend the Statewide Awards Banquet in October. During the statewide banquet, the Department of Commerce will announce the prestigious Governor’s Award of Excellence winner, along with honoring the 2022 Exporter of the Year.

“We want to recognize the many businesses and businesspeople throughout our state that are working hard to build their companies and at the same time contributing to their community as valuable resources,” said Craig VanWey, In-State Business Development Manager. “These awards allow us to shine a light on the terrific success stories taking place in all parts of the state.”

To learn more about To The Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses award categories, view past winners and to nominate a business or businessperson, including your own, click here. The nominations portal will accept nominations through August 5.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.


Temperatures soar in Kansas: Don’t leave children in cars

Temperatures are forecasted to climb back into the 90s across Kansas again this week, and the Kansas Department of Transportation, emergency responders and health advisors remind parents and caregivers to never leave a child in a car.

Heat risks for children can occur even when outside temperatures are much lower. On a sunny day, the inside of a car can heat up 40 degrees in one hour, with 80% of that heat rise happening in the first 30 minutes. If the outside temperature is 80, a vehicle can heat to 99 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 114 degrees in 30 minutes.

Even a brief entrapment in a vehicle can expose a child to heat stroke once their body temperature reaches 104. A child may not be able to remove themselves from a car seat or escape a locked car.

The Kansas Highway Patrol, like all other emergency responders, are looking out for the safety of Kansas motorists and occupants. “Do not forget or leave children in a vehicle, even with windows cracked, for any amount of time,” said Colonel Herman T. Jones, Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Children are more at risk for heatstroke complications and death because their bodies absorb heat more quickly and have trouble cooling off. A child’s body temperature climbs three to five times faster than an adult. Sweating won’t cool down an infant or young child in the same way it does an adult.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than half (53%) of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and 26% are from a child getting into a hot car unsupervised.

If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle:

  • Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents. If someone is with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.

Incentive Stipend for Adopt-A-Highway

Stipends now available to organizations participating in state’s Adopt-A-Highway

Organizations have been helping keep Kansas clean for more than 30 years through participation in the Adopt-A-Highway program. With increased amounts of trash along the highways and limited staff, the Kansas Department of Transportation has created an incentive stipend for groups that actively participate in the program.

“KDOT appreciates all the volunteers’ efforts to assist in removing trash along our highways,” said Director of Field Operations Clay Adams. “They are providing a valuable service to the state. These stipends will benefit groups as well as increase the number of groups taking part in the clean-up program.”

The stipend is $190 per highway section, which is generally two miles long. Adopt-A-Highway groups receiving $600 or more in payments in a calendar year will be issued a 1099 tax form. New and existing groups will be able to submit a request for payment after their group completes a highway cleanup. The group will submit forms identifying the location, date, number of volunteers and number of bags as well as before and after photos of the site.

All groups go through the standard process to adopt a section of highway. New groups will sign an agreement, receive safety training information and follow procedures when scheduling a cleanup. Existing groups will continue to follow existing procedures. State employees and their families are welcome to participate in a group, but are not eligible to receive stipends.

For more information or to sign up, contact the Adopt-A-Highway coordinator at the closest KDOT District Office –

District One (northeast Kansas) – 121 S.W. 21st Street, Topeka, (785) 296-3881

District Two (north central Kansas) – 1006 N. Third, Salina, (785) 823-3754

District Three (northwest Kansas) – 312 S. Second, Norton, (785) 601-6001

District Four (southeast Kansas) – 411 W. Fourteenth, Chanute, (620) 902-6400

District Five (south central Kansas) – 500 N. Hendricks, Hutchinson, (620) 860-7400

District Six (southwest Kansas) – 121 N. Campus Drive, Garden City, (620) 765-7074


Southeast Kansas High Risk for West Nile Virus Infections

High Risk of West Nile Virus Activity in Four Kansas Regions

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued a high-risk warning for West Nile virus infections (WNV) for north central, south central, northeast and southeast Kansas. Northwest and southwest Kansas are at moderate risk for WNV infections.

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the continental United States.  It is most often spread to people through mosquito bites, but it is not spread from person to person. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop swelling of the brain or brain tissue and, in some cases, death. There are no vaccines or medications to treat WNV. People who have had West Nile virus before are considered immune.

“As more Kansans head outdoors this summer, it is important to know your risk and take action to prevent mosquito bites to protect you and your family against West Nile virus”, said Dr. Joan Duwve, State Health Officer. KDHE recommends the following prevention measures:

  • Visit the KDHE WNV website weekly to learn about the current WNV risk level;
  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient on skin and clothing, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • The elderly or those with a weakened immune system should consider limiting their exposure outside during dusk and dawn when the Culex species mosquitoes are most active.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
  • Horses can also be infected with WNV. Talk with your veterinarian about vaccinating your horses to protect them against WNV.

Most WNV infections occur in the late summer and early fall; so far there have not been any reported cases of WNV in Kansas in 2022.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides this web page with additional information about West Nile virus and preventing mosquito bites:  For questions about West Nile virus or other Arboviral diseases contact the KDHE Epidemiology hotline at 877-427-7317.

Mental Health Lifeline Begins Tomorrow

Governor Laura Kelly Celebrates the Launch of the 9-8-8 Mental Health Lifeline in Kansas:
Here’s What They’re Saying

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly ceremonially signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that launches 9-8-8 as the official 24/7 three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Beginning Saturday, July 16, Kansans and all Americans can call 9-8-8 during mental health and substance abuse emergencies.


Here’s what they’re saying:

“We know we need to make it easier for Kansans to get the kind of help they need, whether they need mental health care resources, or the community needed to live with and overcome harmful substance use disorders. Just like with 9-1-1, Kansans who need someone to talk to about a mental health challenge or a substance use disorder will be able to get connected to important public resources through 9-8-8.”
– Sen. Carolyn McGinn, Chair of Senate Ways & Means Human Services Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the 2021 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform

“9-8-8 will be a blessing for so many, it could mean the difference between life and death. 9-8-8 will provide hope and save lives.”
– Rep. Barbara Ballard, Ranking Minority Member of the House Social Services Budget Committee and Member of the 2021 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform

“This new 9-8-8 number is an important resource to the people of Kansas whether you or a loved one use it or not. I am pleased to have worked across the aisle to ensure that we sent a bipartisan bill to the Governor’s desk that avoided any increase in cell phone fees or taxes. Health care—including mental health care and substance use treatment—is a public good that all Kansans should have access to regardless of ability to pay.”
– Rep. Annie Kuether, Ranking Minority on the House Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications

“KSPHQ is proud of our 50-year history providing suicide prevention and crisis services to the people of Kansas. The 988 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline is a necessary innovation which will immediately connect Kansans from many backgrounds with evidence-based and lifesaving services”
– Monica Kurz, Vice President for External Programming, Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters

“Kansas is joining states and territories across the nation in transition to the easy-to-remember, 3-digit number for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.  This is a top priority for me and our entire leadership here at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”
-Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA


Drive carefully – Operation Safe Driver Week is underway in Kansas


TOPEKA – Drivers on the nation’s highways may find themselves under the watchful eye of law enforcement a little more than usual this week. Operation Safe Driver Week is being observed July 10-16. The goal of the yearly observance, started by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), is to reduce the number of crashes involving commercial trucks through education, traffic enforcement strategies and interactions with law enforcement. However, any driver, regardless of whether they are driving a big rig or a passenger vehicle will be cited if dangerous driving such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change, drunk or drugged driving is observed.

Special investigators with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), which regulates motor carriers in the state, are teaming up with Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Investigators to conduct inspections at weigh stations located in Olathe (both North and Southbound), Wabaunsee, Belleville, Kanorado, Liberal and South Haven. At the weigh stations, they will also be talking to motor carriers about the need to focus on improving their driving routines when sharing the road with others.

“Unfortunately yesterday, Kansas had its 31st tragic fatal crash involving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when a pick-up ran into the back of a turning CMV on US-160 in Stanton County.  Last year there were a total of 52 fatal crashes involving CMV’s in Kansas, at this rate that number will be exceeded this year. Many of these crashes were the result of unsafe driving and poor decisions.  That is the purpose of these initiatives, to educate everyone to be safe when traveling on the highways, whether they are in a commercial or personal vehicle.  We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely.” said Gary Davenport, KCC Deputy Director of Transportation.

The KCC offers some safety best practices for drivers to keep in mind when sharing the road with large trucks this summer.

  • Give them space and maintain a safe following distance.
  • Pass with care and don’t cut them off.
  • Stay out of the blind spots – if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you.
  • Signal your intentions.
  • Focus on driving, not your phone.
  • Don’t drive fatigued.

All Registered Kansas Voters Will Be Allowed to Vote on Abortion Regulation

Today, July 12,  is the last day to register to vote or change party affiliation.

This year a constitutional amendment known as “Value Them Both” will be on the ballot during the Kansas primary election on August 2, 2022.

This year, the constitutional amendment will be on ALL ballots.

“There is a nonpartisan ballot that will be for everyone other than Democrat of Republican voters, with only the amendment question, so that everyone that is registered will have the opportunity to vote in the 2022 Primary election,” Bourbon County Clerk Ashley Shelton said.

Below is the proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that will be voted on in the August primary election, according to

Ballot iconValue Them Both Amendment will be on the
State of Kansas Official Primary Election Ballot.
On August 2, 2022  the following question will be on the ballot for all registered voters.
Regulation of abortion.
Because Kansans value both women
and children, the constitution of the
state of Kansas does not require
government funding of abortion
and does not create or secure a
right to abortion. To the extent
permitted by the constitution of the
United States, the people, through
their elected state representatives
and state senators, may pass laws
regarding abortion, including, but
not limited to, laws that account
for circumstances of pregnancy
resulting from rape or incest, or
circumstances of necessity to save
the life of the mother.
O Yes
Explanatory statement.
The  Value Them Both Amendment
would affirm there is no Kansas
constitutional right to abortion or
to require the government funding
of abortion, and would reserve
to the people of Kansas, through
their elected state legislators,
the right to pass laws to regulate
abortion, including, but not limited
to, in circumstances of pregnancy
resulting from rape or incest, or
when necessary to save the life of
the mother.A vote for the Value Them Both
Amendment would affirm there
is no Kansas constitutional right
to abortion or to require the
government funding of abortion,
and would reserve to the people of
Kansas, through their elected state
legislators, the right to pass laws to
regulate abortion.

A vote against the Value Them
Both Amendment would make no
changes to the constitution of the
state of Kansas, and could restrict
the people, through their elected
state legislators, from regulating
abortion by leaving in place
the recently recognized right to

Kansas residents can check their voter registration status or register to vote through:

KS Launches Mental Health Lifeline

Governor Laura Kelly Celebrates the Launch of the 9-8-8 Mental Health Lifeline in Kansas

~~Starting July 16 Kansans Can Call 9-8-8 During Mental Health
and Substance Abuse Emergencies~~

WICHITA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly ceremonially signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that launches 9-8-8 as the official 24/7 three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Beginning Saturday, July 16, Kansans and all Americans can call 9-8-8 during mental health and substance abuse emergencies. Governor Kelly joined Sedgwick County Commissioners, legislators, and local advocates for the celebration at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.

“With 9-8-8, we are on the path to reversing our country’s mental health crisis and getting Kansans the help they need,” Governor Kelly said. “Just as every American knows to call 9-1-1 in times of emergency, every American – and every Kansan – will soon know to call 9-8-8 when they or a loved one is facing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.”

Governor Kelly announced in January of this year that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) received the Lifeline’s 9-8-8 State Planning Grant through the nonprofit Vibrant Emotional Health to develop plans to build the infrastructure for and grow access to the Lifeline’s new three-digit 9-8-8 number. Governor Kelly signed SB 19 in June so that going forward, each July 1 $10 million in state general funds will be appropriated to fund 9-8-8 with no access fee for Kansans.

The new “9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline” will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and offer a broader range of services for people experiencing a mental health crisis or substance use crisis. Callers will be connected to resources in their local community and to in-person crisis services where available. Kansans who dial 9-8-8 will be routed to a local crisis specialist trained to address unique concerns and needs, which may include assessment, stabilization, referral, and follow-up.

“Kansas is the 14th state to fund 9-8-8 through legislation and we are excited for the national launch of 9-8-8,” KDADS Behavioral Health Services Commissioner Andrew Brown said. “KDADS has been working throughout the Kelly Administration to increase the infrastructure in Kansas for suicide prevention and crisis intervention in preparation for 9-8-8. This will be the first of several milestones that will help Kansans experiencing a crisis get improved access to the help they need during a crisis.”

KDADS partnered with the Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, Johnson County Mental Health, COMCARE of Sedgwick County, HealthSource Information Solutions, and TBD Solutions LLC, to develop clear roadmaps to address coordination, capacity, funding, and communications surrounding the launch of 9-8-8 and collaborated with state leadership, suicide prevention experts, people with lived experience, and others to create a 9-8-8 implementation plan and support the Lifeline’s operational, clinical, and performance standards that allow access to care.

Individuals will still be able to access the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) after the July 16 implementation of 9-8-8. The current Lifeline and 9-8-8 will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via call, text, or chat. All phone service providers are required to connect callers who dial 9-8-8 to the Lifeline.