The Legislature continued to advance bills this week as the session neared the turnaround deadline, which is when nonexempt bills must pass the house of origin. The following actions occurred on bills of interest to KLA members.
County home rule - The Senate Committee on Local Government held a hearing on SCR 1606, a constitutional amendment expanding home rule authorities to counties. KLA testified in opposition to the constitutional amendment as it would remove key oversight functions of the state Legislature and endanger individual property rights of landowners. It would grant excessive authority to counties to regulate items such as agricultural zoning, corporate farming and water pollution control permits.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) budget - The KDHE-Division of Environment’s budget was worked through committees last week. All agencies were asked by Governor Laura Kelly to reduce their state general funding expenditures by 10%. Included in KDHE’s recommended cuts was elimination of an engineer in the Livestock Waste Management Section. This likely would result in a backlog of permit applications and renewals that was experienced by KLA members a few years ago. KLA staff worked with the Senate Ways and Means Committee to place language in the budget to prohibit KDHE from reducing engineering staff, and instead reduce staff in other areas like inspectors or technicians. KLA also plans to work with the House Appropriations Committee to insert a similar proviso in its budget bill.
Transferable deer permits - The House Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development held a hearing on HB 2331. KLA testified in support of this bill, which would allow the limited transfer of landowner or tenant whitetail deer hunting permits to nonresidents.