Hearings Wrap Up As Legislature Works Key Bills Before Turnaround

February 19, 2024

Committees worked several bills last week to ensure they would be heard on the House or Senate floor prior to the turnaround deadline of Friday, February 24. KLA staff testified in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, House Water Committee and the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Animal Facilities Protection Act - KLA provided testimony in strong support of SB 389 in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. This bill was introduced by KLA and would prohibit trespassing or making false statements on an employment application to gain access to animal and crop research facilities across the state. The bill amends provisions of current law struck down by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for First Amendment violations. The bill’s definition of trespass also includes the use of drones over these facilities. The committee plans to work the bill Tuesday, February 20.

Kansas Pet Animal Act - The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources had a hearing on HB 2542, which would amend the Kansas Pet Animal Act to update terminology associated with the pet animal industry, increase the maximum amount of certain fees and add requirements for businesses wishing to cease operations. It also would authorize the animal health commissioner to adopt additional rules and regulations for license holders. KLA testified in opposition to the bill because it requires the commissioner to implement regulations that include “exercise and socialization” requirements and “morbidity and mortality data.” Parts of the bill could be harmful to the agricultural industry if the same stipulations were to be extended to livestock.

Water - The House Water Committee held a hearing on  HB 2696. KLA staff testified in support of the bill to streamline the groundwater management district (GMD) review of a proposed water conservation area (WCA). The bill would change the word “recommendation” to “comment” in the GMD review authority of a WCA. KLA also suggested shortening the comment period to facilitate timely decisions, as it is unclear if the change in wording would significantly alter the review process.

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