Kansas legislature reaches important deadline

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The state Legislature’s first “house-of-origin” deadline occurred last week. This cutoff date is when bills must pass the House or Senate if they are to be considered further this session. Several bills of interest to the livestock industry are still alive.

Immigration and labor
- Bills relating to immigration and labor likely will be debated in the House in the next few weeks. KLA continues to coordinate with a business coalition to support HB 2712 and SB 399, which would allow the state to support work authorization for undocumented persons who have resided in Kansas for at least five years. Other bills that would require employers to use a federal E-verify system or call for local law enforcement to check residential status when there is a reasonable suspicion that an individual is undocumented are opposed by KLA and the business coalition.

Wind erosion
- The Senate approved SB 357 last week, which would rewrite a 1930s-era statute that gives county commissioners nearly limitless authority to curb wind erosion. The Senate Agriculture Committee adopted a KLA-supported amendment to add private property right protections and ensure any actions taken by county commissioners would be guided by sound science. The bill now advances to the House for consideration.

Income tax reform
- The House Tax Committee passed its version of income tax reform last week. SB 177 would reduce the rates on the three existing tax brackets and use future annual state general fund (SGF) growth above 2% to further reduce income taxes. The plan would allow .6¢ of the 2010 1¢ sales tax increase to expire in 2013, but diverts .4¢ of the increase from the State Highway Fund into the SGF. SB 177 also would eliminate all tax credit refunds, limiting the amount of credits that can be claimed to the taxpayer’s actual tax liability. The House is expected to vote on SB 177 in the near future.

Animal Health
- KLA testified in support of a bill last week that would strengthen the Farm Animal and Research Facilities Protection Act. SB 414 clarifies animal activists concealing their identity or lying on a job application cannot avail themselves to the defense that they were given permission to work on or enter the facility. The bill also clarifies controlled shooting preserves in Kansas may not provide sport hunting of feral swine. SB 414 will be debated further by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

For more information visit www.kla.org.

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