Legislature Wraps Up Last Week of Committees

March 24, 2023

A number of last-minute bills were addressed in committees this week of which KLA testified on several.  

Foreign ownership of land - KLA testified in opposition to SB 283, which would prevent any foreign adversary from owning an interest in real property over 10 acres in Kansas. KLA took issue with the bill because it likely violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives Congress, not states, power to regulate foreign commerce. KLA instead supports S. 68, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, to allow the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to review all purchases of agricultural land and businesses by foreign nationals. KLA requested an amendment to SB 283 to strike the  10-acre provision, as it could permit foreign adversaries to purchase land next to military installations, and instead only allow the purchase of a home. If the amendment is adopted, KLA agreed to change their position to neutral, despite the constitutional deficiencies of the bill.   

Eminent Domain - KLA testified in favor of SB 312 to preserve private property rights for members. The bill would require approval of the board of county commissioners prior to certain public utilities exercising the power of eminent domain. This gives local governments the authority needed to protect private landowners.  

Pet Animal Act - A hearing was held on HB 2437, which would update certain terms, requirements and fees contained in the Kansas Pet Animal Act. KLA testified in opposition to the bill, with the opportunity to become neutral if three harmful provisions are removed. KLA opposes language in the bill that would detract from the animal health commissioner’s equal authority over livestock and pet health programs. The bill also would require the commissioner to adopt regulations that use terms that could be used against pet breeders and, potentially, the livestock industry. Finally, the bill would allow the commissioner to enter into contracts with animal shelters and rescue networks to seize pet animals, as well as force abandonment of the animals seized if expenses are not paid after 10 days. 

Water - The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources took final action on two water bills, HB 2279 and  HB 2302. HB 2279, as amended, would add sections to the Kansas Groundwater Management District Act requiring groundwater management districts to submit annual reports to the Legislature, identify areas of concern in depleted aquifers and develop action plans to address the situation. HB 2302, as it passed the House, would have funded the state water plan using 0.08 percentage points of every sales tax transaction. It was amended by the committee, however, to delete the sales tax funding and convert it to an annual appropriation from the state general fund. While KLA policy supports the approach of setting aside sales tax dollars to create a more certain funding stream, the need to move this legislation forward was recognized. The bill also was amended, at the request of KLA, to include specific funding for stockwatering conservation projects. Both bills await action by the full Senate. 

Wind tower light-mitigation technology - The House Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications passed SB 49, which would require all new wind towers to have light-mitigating technology systems and all existing wind towers to convert to such technology upon negotiation of a new power agreement.  

Members can stay up-to-date on what's happening during the session by following @newsfromKLA on Twitter or Facebook and the hashtag #KLAattheCapitol.