Last week was busy for KLA governmental affairs staff due to the “turnaround” deadline being just two weeks away. If nonexempt bills are not passed by the house of origin by February 27, the bills are considered dead for the remainder of the year.
There were several bills on which KLA offered input.
Unsecured loads - KLA testified on SB 267 in the Senate Transportation Committee. Introduced by Sen. John Doll, this bill would reduce the penalty for failing to secure a load on a truck from a misdemeanor to a traffic infraction. The bill was necessary after custom silage trucks were cited for silage blowing out the top while briefly driving down a highway to a feedyard. KLA testified the bill was a step in the right direction, but indicated silage trucks should be exempt from any fine, not just removed from criminal liability. This is because it is impractical to tarp silage trucks, especially during harvest, and blowing silage has little ability to damage vehicles on the road.
Raw milk - KLA provided testimony in support of SB 308 in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Introduced by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, this bill would require any person selling raw, unpasteurized milk on the farm direct to consumers to place a visible disclaimer on labels and advertisements that discloses the food safety risks from consuming the milk. Following direction from the KLA Dairy Council, the KLA Board of Directors voted to support SB 308 and seek amendments that also would require the same inspection standards as dairies selling to a processor. Currently, the on-farm sale of raw, unpasteurized milk to consumers is not regulated.
Spill remediation - SB 153, a bill proposed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to redesign its current spill remediation program was passed out of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Originally, KLA opposed this bill because it was broad enough to potentially impact normal farming and ranching activities. KLA worked with KDHE and other stakeholders to ensure manure and crop waste were not defined as pollutants and activities such as fertilizing crops would not be considered release of a pollutant.
Fake meat - KLA continues to gather support for HB 2437, which would require transparent labeling of fake meat products. KLA addressed the House Rural Caucus in a meeting last week highlighting NCBA’s survey of consumer perceptions about fake meat product labels. Staff explained the purpose of the bill and, using the survey, showed caucus members the real impact of deceptive labeling practices used by fake meat companies.