March 22 was the last day for Kansas legislative committees to meet, as the deadline for non-exempt bills to pass the second chamber is this week. The Kansas Senate passed the fiscal year 2020 budget bill last week. It included the recommended funding enhancement of $250,000 for the second year of the CattleTrace disease traceability pilot project in the Kansas Department of Agriculture budget.
Testimony was submitted last week by KLA opposing SB 191, which is the Senate version of HB 2368. The bill would grant an exemption from the property tax lid for local units of government and allow such governing bodies to fund transportation projects, in excess of the rate of inflation, without first holding an election. Transportation projects are a large part of many county budgets. Providing an exemption from the tax lid for such projects would essentially render the tax lid useless.
KLA testified in support of HB 2248 in the Senate Transportation Committee. The underlying bill would allow landowners to cross state and federal highways on all-terrain vehicles (ATV) if they own or lease land on both sides of the highway. KLA originally proposed amendments in the House Committee on Transportation to allow operators of both ATVs and utility vehicle (UTV) limited use on state and federal highways in addition to crossing. However, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) raised concerns with KLA’s proposed language and the amendment was not adopted in the House. After KLA held discussions with KDOT, compromise language to broaden the bill was adopted by the committee. The amended bill would allow any ATV or UTV to cross state and federal highways. It would also allow operators with a driver’s license to utilize ATVs and UTVs on highways that are posted at 65 miles per hour or less, so long as the operation is for agricultural purposes. The ATV and UTV also must be driven as near to the right side of the road as practical. The amended bill was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee and awaits further action by the full Senate.