Bidding rules hold up $50M in Kansas COVID testing funds

Nearly $50 million in funding for COVID testing is still moving through the state's bidding system more than three weeks after Kansas legislators approved the spending, state officials say. 

At the state Legislative Budget Committee meeting this past week, Sen. Carolyn McGinn expressed frustration that Wichita State University, which has completed necessary paperwork and has labs ready to process tests, doesn't have a go-ahead from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Marci Nielsen, a special advisor to Gov. Laura Kelly, told lawmakers that state regulations allow time for potential testing organizations to submit proposals for government funding. Decisions on which organizations will receive the money will not be made until later this month, The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle reports.

Nielsen said that while the Wichita State proposal could be accepted, the state needs to meet the requirement of ensuring a "unified strategy" is in place.

In an email to The Star, Friday, a KDHE spokeswoman said the request for proposals would end on Oct. 21. She did not have a timeline for when supplies would be distributed.