Kansas Legislature Update – Week Six

Kansas Legislature Update – Week Six

This session, a proposed constitutional amendment on abortion is one of the highest priority items for both House and Senate leadership. The measure was passed by the Senate, but later failed by a very close margin in the House. Additionally, the Governor and a probable balance of legislators in both chambers are eager to pass Medicaid Expansion this year.

Following the failure of the abortion bill, House and Senate leadership have held up floor debate on Medicaid Expansion and most of all but a handful of other bills. Next week will be telling, as “Turnaround Day” occurs this coming Thursday, where all bills that are not otherwise exempt will dead for the year.

Senate Resolution on Rattlesnake Creek Sub-Basin

On Monday, February 17, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources held a hearing on SCR 1614, a resolution supporting Kansas farmers in the Rattlesnake Creek sub-basin in their ongoing effort to protect their water rights and livelihood through a collaborative solution to the region’s water impairment issue. Proponents to the resolution included: Nick Krehbiel of Kanza Coop, Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association, Renew Kansas Biofuels Association, Kansas Cooperative Council, Kansas Wheat, Kansas Soybean, Kansas Grain Sorghum Association, Kansas Corn, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau and Water Protection Assn. of Central Kansas.

More Property Tax Bills Heard

  • On Thursday, February 20, the Senate Tax Committee held a hearing on SB 309. Under current law, a taxpayer has the option to appeal any summary decision or full and complete opinion of the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) that would allow for a new trial with the district court. SB 309 would place the burden of proof on the county appraiser to initiate the production of evidence to demonstrate the validity and correctness of the property valuation or classification of residential or commercial property before an appeal de novo to the district court.
  • On Wednesday, February 19, the Senate Tax Committee held a hearing on SB 301, a bill which would change the property valuation process from an annual valuation to a triennium basis.
  • On Wednesday, February 19, the House Tax Committee held a hearing on HB 2440, a bill which would require that county appraisers be elected instead of appointed beginning in calendar year 2022.

Property Tax Bills Moving Forward

This week, the Senate Tax Committee passed the following bills out of committee favorably:

  • SB 242, a bill which would allow a property tax abatement following a Governor-declared natural disaster when that natural disaster causes substantial or total loss to the property. Current law provides the tax abatement to residential property owners. As amended, the bill would extend the tax abatement to owners of agricultural improvements, public grain warehouses, and all commercial and industrial property. A similar bill (HB 2517) was passed out of the House Tax Committee.
  • SB 262, a bill clarifying the time for any aggrieved party to request a full and complete opinion from the Board of Tax Appeals. As amended, the bill would allow 21 days after service of the Board’s decision to request a full opinion.
  • SB 265, a bill requiring the state board of tax appeals to serve orders and notices by electronic means if requested by the party.
  • SB 297, a bill requiring appraisal directives to require compliance with uniform standards of professional appraisal practice (USPAP) in property tax appraisals.

“FORWARD” Transportation Plan

Hearings on the Kansas Department of Transportation’s next 10-year state transportation plan were held this week in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and in the House Appropriations Committee. The plan, called “Forward,” is set forth in House Bill 2588 and in Senate Bill 375. The plan replaces the now-expired T-Works program with a series of two-year reassessments of the state’s transportation and communication needs, including: maintenance and preservation projects, state highways, bridges, broadband and other communications and transportation systems. The initial phase of the program will include completion of the $435 million in T-Works projects that had been delayed due to budget shortfalls. The new program will be re-evaluated/restructured every two years to maintain flexibility and relevance with the needs of state/community/industry groups. Governor Kelly has stated her intention to no longer use money from the state highway fund to balance the state budget, but to use those funds only for transportation infrastructure.

Investment Expensing Bill

On Thursday, February 20th, the Senate Tax Committee held a hearing on SB 196. Currently, Kansas corporations, banks, trust companies, and savings and loans are allowed to claim an expensing deduction for investments in qualifying machinery and equipment that are placed into service in Kansas for tax year 2014 and thereafter. SB 196 would allow individual taxpayers (and LLC’s) to claim this deduction beginning in tax year 2019.

Income Tax Exemption for Public Utilities

On Thursday, February 20, the Senate Utilities Committee amended Senate Bill 126 and passed the bill out of committee favorably. The bill would exempt certain public utilities from paying an income tax and also exclude the utility from factoring the cost of this income tax in setting their utility rates. The income tax exemption under the bill would be a permanent exemption. The purpose of the bill is to lower utility rates and make Kansas more competitive. According to some conferees on the bill, the measure could save more than 2 million Kansas residential and industrial rate payers between $40 and $50 million every year in lower energy rates.

“Alternative Fuel” Investment Tax Credit

On Tuesday, February 18, the House Tax Committee held a hearing on HB 2543, a bill which would change the definition of “alternative fuel” to allow fuel retailers to qualify for the alternative-fuel tax credit. The amended definition would define as an “alternative fuel” those fuels containing at least 15.0 percent ethanol or methanol, or 10.0 percent biodiesel. The bill would allow a retailer of alternative fuel to qualify for an investment tax credit of 40 percent of the investment, up to a maximum tax credit of $100,000 per location. Proponents included Renew Kansas Biofuels Association, Casey’s General Stores, Kansas Corn, Kansas Soybean Association, Kansas Grain Sorghum Association, and Kansas Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

Funding Approved for KDHE Bureau of Air Quality

On Wednesday, February 19, your association joined with other industries in testifying before the House Ag Budget Subcommittee on a funding request for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Air Quality. The committee was asked to review the Bureau’s budgetary needs after the Bureau informed industry stakeholders that it intends to increase air quality emission fees on Class I and Class II emitters by approximately $1.5 million in 2020 and every year thereafter. On Thursday, February 20, the subcommittee amended the agency’s budget request to include an additional $300,000 from state general funds to cover the budgetary needs of the Bureau of Air Quality. The subcommittee will report the agency budget recommendation to the House Appropriations Committee next week.

Underground Storage Tank Funds

On Thursday, February 20, the Senate Committee of the Whole passed the following bills favorably on a final action vote. These bills will now move to the House for consideration.

  • SB 285 extending the existence of the UST redevelopment fund and compensation advisory board to 2032.
  • SB 286 amending the Kansas storage tank act by extending the sunset of the aboveground fund and the underground fund and increasing the maximum reimbursement from the fund.
  • SB 287 amending the Kansas storage tank act by extending the expiration of certain reimbursement provisions to 2030 and increasing the underground storage tank replacement reimbursement maximum.

Kansas Promise Scholarship Act

On Thursday, February 20, the House Committee of the Whole passed HB 2515 favorably on a final action vote. The bill would create the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act to provide scholarships for any Kansas community college or technical college student.

Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act Revisited

On Tuesday, February 18, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 344 favorably out of committee. This bill would seek to remove the photograph requirement for all customers seeking to recycle certain types of metal listed within the scrap metal theft reduction act. The legislature had made amendments to the Scrap Metal Theft Reduction act in 2019 in order to extend the life of the program and require additional record keeping of certain scrap metal recycling transactions. A large scrap metal recycling company proponent stated that they wanted these changes because they were concerned with the privacy of their customers, and stated that the photograph requirement was overly burdensome.

Multi-Year Flex Account Water Bill Advances Out of Senate

On Thursday, February 20, the Senate Committee of the Whole passed SB 270 favorably on a final action vote. The bill, which allows water rights that were certified after 2009 to be placed in multi-year flex accounts, will now move to the House for consideration.

Underground Injection Program Fees

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources passed SB 152 out of committee favorably. The bill, which authorizes the secretary of health and environment to collect underground injection control program fees and redirect water well license program fees, moves to the full Senate for consideration.

State Water Office Budget / State Water Plan Fund

On Thursday, February 20, the House Ag Budget Subcommittee took final action on the budget for the Kansas Water Office. The subcommittee approved a recommendation to transfer $7 million to the state water plan fund in state fiscal year 2021 ($5 million from state general funds, and $2 million from the economic development initiatives fund). The subcommittee will report the budget recommendation to the House Appropriations Committee next week.

Click the button below to view all of the bills being tracked by your association. You can read a brief summary of the bill, the actual text of the bill, the history of the bill and upcoming actions. If you have any problems using the Bill Tracker, please contact Trae Green (trae@kansasag.org).



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