The state Legislature turned its focus to the fiscal year 2020 budget with the introduction of Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget bills in both the House and Senate. Senators passed two bills that could have a significant impact on the budget. SB 22, which would return money to individuals and corporations from increased state tax liability due to changes in the 2017 federal tax code, would result in $191 million less to the state general fund in FY 2020, $112 million less in FY 2021 and $118 million less in FY 2022. SB 9 would deposit an additional $115 million dollars in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Fund to account for amounts withheld in previous budget years.
KLA staff testified during budget hearings in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. A request was made of both committees to include a budget enhancement of $250,000 in FY 2020 for the CattleTrace disease traceability pilot project as part of the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) budget. Gov. Kelly’s budget does not include the second year of funding for this two-year project, prompting the budget enhancement request from KLA. The committees are expected to work the KDA budget this week.
Other bills of interest to KLA members were introduced last week.
Poultry facility bills - SB 110, SB 111 and SB 112 were introduced by Sen. Tom Holland and referred to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Similar to bills introduced last session, SB 111 and SB 112 attempt to give counties permitting authority over poultry processing and confined poultry feeding facilities. These two bills also were offered as amendments last year and were soundly defeated during debate on SB 405, which created an animal unit conversion for confined poultry facilities. SB 110 would require the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to conduct a human health impact assessment of confined poultry feeding facilities. KLA is opposed to these anti-animal agriculture bills that would set a dangerous precedent for feedlots, dairies and swine facilities.
Quarantine authority for dogs and cats - SB 117 would separate dogs and cats from the quarantine statutes governing livestock and other domestic animals. It would allow certain types of animal shelters to foster sick dogs and cats with the supervision of a veterinarian. KLA was involved in the early drafting of this bill to ensure it does not adversely impact livestock quarantine laws.
Transferability of deer permits - Introduced in the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee, HB 2167 would allow landowners to transfer hunt-on-your-own-land whitetail deer tags to nonresident hunters in units where all nonresident tags have been issued. KLA has supported similar bills in past sessions and will support this bill based on existing policy.