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Publications icon2024 Session Laws of Kansas


Senate Bill No. 431*

An Act concerning the state capitol; directing the capitol preservation committee to approve plans for a memorial honoring the life of Emil Joseph Kapaun.

WHEREAS, Emil Joseph Kapaun was born in the farming community of Pilsen, Kansas, in 1916; and

WHEREAS, Emil Joseph Kapaun was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Wichita in 1940; and

WHEREAS, Emil Joseph Kapaun served as a chaplain in the United States Army and attained the rank of Captain; and

WHEREAS, Chaplain Kapaun served in the India-Burma Theater of the Pacific campaign in World War II and at the outbreak of the Korean War where he was captured in the Battle of Unsan for refusing to leave the wounded; and

WHEREAS, Chaplain Kapaun died as a prisoner of war in Pyoktong, North Korea, on May 23, 1951, after giving his life to serve his fellow prisoners of war; and

WHEREAS, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Chaplain Kapaun with the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2013; and

WHEREAS, Chaplain Kapaun is the most highly decorated chaplain in United States Army history receiving the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal and the Republic of Korea Taegeuk Order of Military Merit presented by President Moon Jae-In; and

WHEREAS, Chaplain Kapaun's life continues to inspire people across the United States and around the world; and

WHEREAS, Work is being undertaken to name Chaplain Kapaun as a saint in the Catholic Church, from whom he has received the designation of Servant of God; and

WHEREAS, Chaplain Kapaun's life embodies the Kansas spirit and exemplifies the state motto "Ad astra per aspera"; and

Now, therefore:

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:

Section 1. (a) The capitol preservation committee shall approve plans to place a permanent memorial honoring the life of Emil Joseph Kapaun pursuant to K.S.A. 75-2269, and amendments thereto.

(b) The secretary of administration is hereby authorized to receive moneys from any grants, gifts, contributions or bequests made for the purpose of financing the creation and construction of the memorial and to expend such moneys received for such purpose. The secretary of administration shall remit all moneys so received to the state treasurer in accordance with the provisions of K.S.A. 75-4215, and amendments thereto. Upon receipt of each such remittance, the state treasurer shall deposit the entire amount in the state treasury to the credit of the Emil Joseph Kapaun memorial fund. No public funds shall be expended for the purpose of financing the creation or construction of the memorial.

(c) There is hereby established in the state treasury the Emil Joseph Kapaun memorial fund. Expenditures from the fund may be made for the purposes of creating and constructing the memorial and for such other purposes as may be specified with regard to any grant, gift, contribution or bequest. All such expenditures shall be made upon warrants of the director of accounts and reports issued pursuant to vouchers approved by the secretary of administration or the secretary's designee.

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication in the statute book.

Approved March 22, 2024.