Kansas Legislative Report: Feb. 29

1 03 2012

Turn around, Legislative Report

Donn Teske, KFU President

2-25-12

 

HB 2502; County rights / Corporate hogs.  This is part of the Dept of Ag’s “welcoming corporate Ag into Kansas” agenda. Or, as I call it, “Declaring war on the Kansas farmer”. It takes away the mandatory county vote on corporate hogs coming into a county and at the request of the Ks Livestock Assn. would raise the percentage of county voters needed to petition it onto the ballot to 10% from the originally introduced 5%. Right now it sits at 5% and with a balloon offered by Senator Francisco to re-instate the mandatory county vote.

Kansas Farmers Union and the Ks. Rural Center were the only testimonies in opposition to the bill. My testimony is attached.

It passed the House but did not make it out of the Senate Ag Committee before turn-around. I still expect it to be law by the end of session at the 10% level and with the mandatory vote out.

 

HB 2575 Immigrant ID bill. This is a weird one, it will allow illegal immigrants living here for 5 years, or employed by a multi-state company, to legally work in Kansas and to apply for a Kansas driver’s license. I think it is commendable that the state is finally recognizing this very large hidden part of our society but am disappointed that it intentionally does not make this a step toward citizenship. Long time opponents, corporate Ag and social welfare groups, are allied in support of this bill. Labor unions are opposed.

 

SB 317. Taxation bill. Apparently eliminates taxation on “trade fixtures” and allows transfer of that taxation to other property taxes. (see Steve Woolf testimony) It’s floating around the Senate committees but hasn’t done much yet except have a hearing.

 

HB 2503. Agriculture boards, not subject to confirmation, membership, and duties. (? Oversight to the specialty crop grant applications and the value-added grant applications.)

 

HB 2451. Use it or lose it section repealed in Kansas water law. (Passed by both sides and sent to the governor) This repeals the rule in closed irrigation areas of the state where one has to pump his water allotment or he will lose the water rights. It’s a good thing and was the #1 priority of former Sec of Agriculture Svaty. In my analysis this was basically a Republican controlled legislature keeping any democratic agenda’s from moving forward during their terms.

 

HB 2231 & SB272. Irrigation “Flex Accounts”. This forgives the irrigators that used 2012 water in 2011 and then creates a flex account that is a block of water over a 5 year period and that allows the irrigator to use it as he sees fit over that 5 year period. (It essentially lets irrigators pump at will) (2231 has already passed the House unanimously and 272 already passed both sides)

 

SB 187. Irrigation, making permanent “water banking”. Somethings going on here because water banking has been around for a while and basically not used much. Now it’s coming into work from both sides, and also making it permanent. Cynics suspect a water-grab someplace. At one local meeting a representative was heard saying that the water banked is needed for hydraulic fracturing.

 

Interstate shipment of State inspected meat. Not a bill, but a Dept of Ag non-action. Interstate shipment of state inspected meat, if equal to, or greater than, federal standards, was passed in the 2008 farm bill. Kansas has decided to NOT apply for participation in this. KFU feels that this restricts value-added opportunities and directly reflects the control other groups have on the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

 

SB 375. Horizontal drilling waste distribution on cropland. (fracturing waste??) (Passed the Senate easily) Senator Francisco tells me that 375 deals with spreading of the solids from the drilling of the wells, not the fracturing.

 

SB 357. A bill that defines dust restrictions in Kansas. (Farm Bureau priority) (Passed the Senate)

 

HB 2449. Equine board, (up-front production tax / check-off, I have never heard of this before). This bill would create an equine board that has the power to access a fee up to $2 per ton of purchased feed to promote equines in Ks. (A House hearing was held, nothing further that I’m aware of.)

 

HB 2309. Allowing the transfer of campaign funds to a bona fide successor committee or candidacy. (Looks to me like a transfer of war-chests to the next generation)

 

SB 419. Evaluating & reporting renewable energy in production costs to utilities. (Already passed the Senate)

 

HB 2625. Farm winery licenses; delete requirements products be grown in Kansas. (Nothings happened yet with it)

 

HB 2409. NBAF funding. $105 million in bonds to help finance NBAF. Introduced in May of 2011. But I wonder where this will come in as debate over Kansas funding more of NBAF evolves.

 

Redistricting is entertaining to watch. It will end up being what they all want it to be. Rumor has it that O’Neil is insisting on Wyandotte County being placed in the 1st district. It would kind of look like a giraffe.

 

Bill content and status can be found at; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/bills/

 

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29 03 2012
March KFU President’s Report « KS Farmers Union

[…] In another place in this Kontact (Click HERE to view) is my turn-around legislative report (written a month ago and sent out to our email list […]

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