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Beginning Friday, March 20, 2020, at least 14 Kansas counties have issued emergency “stay at home” orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these local orders defines, and exempts, “essential businesses.” Earlier this week, Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order #20-15. This Executive Order establishes a “Kansas Essential Functions Framework (KEFF)” to identify a state-wide list of “essential businesses.” The KEFF is based on national critical function guidelines established for pandemic and other disaster response efforts. The Governor’s Order identifies agribusiness, grain storage, and biofuel production as essential functions and...

Renew Kansas members - Throughout this unprecedented time in our country, we have been working non-stop to ensure COVID-19 executive orders from Topeka do not impede on your ability to do business and provide fuel for the world. In coordination with the 15 major agriculture-related organizations, known as the Kansas Agricultural Alliance, your association spearheaded the effort to send the letter below to Governor Laura Kelly and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam this morning. We implored the governor to designate the agriculture commodity community as an essential service if she decided to...

Please find below a press release from the Kansas Department of Agriculture stressing the importance of Agri-Business and the vital role it plays in the supply chain. Renew Kansas has been in close communication with our state regulators since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and have received insurances that robust bio energy operations are vital to keep the country moving. Please continue to contact your association with concerns and questions regarding this issue. Sincerely, Ronald C. Seeber Renew Kansas Biofuels Association 785.234.0461 | ron@kansasag.org With Tuesday’s announcement by Governor Laura Kelly that state agencies...

On Thursday evening, the Legislature wrapped up regular session business, adjourning nearly a full week before its regularly scheduled adjournment date as concerns of COVID-19 exposure continue to grow. This shortened session prevented final legislative action on many bills. However, the adjournment resolution is scheduled to bring the legislature back on Monday, April 27, and allow one final week of possible action on bills -- all of which is dependent on the broader COVID-19 pandemic. Legislature Passes Budget for fiscal years ’20 and ’21 On Thursday, March 19, following multiple rounds of...

With daily news of COVID-19 marching across the country, and concerns of a shortened Kansas legislative session, the pace of legislative activity quickened this week. Committees in the House and Senate each passed out bills on the base budget and on the state’s next transportation plan. Though gone for the weekend, legislators will consider these measures when they return on Monday. Next week will bring more quick work during the final days of activity for non-exempt committees this session. Here are some of the highlights from this week: Committees Advance Budget Bills On...

Week 8 for the Kansas legislature was a short one with only two days of committee work on Wednesday and Thursday following the break for Turnaround (the mandatory movement of bills from non-exempt committees from their house of origin to the opposite chamber). Exempt bills include all those that have passed through certain committees, including House or Senate Taxation, House Appropriations/Senate Ways and Means, and House and Senate Federal and State Affairs. Next week’s calendar promises to be very busy again with committees having their say on bills passed by the...

This letter is to inform you that effective July 1, 2020, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will have approximately $9 million available through the State Rail Service Improvement Fund (SRSIF) for railroad improvement projects. Qualified entities that may submit an application include: any Class III (short line) railroad, as defined in 49 C.F.R., part 1201 holding a certificate of public convenience from the Surface Transportation Board; port authority (established by Kansas Statute) in coordination with the serving railroad (short line or Class 1); local units of government (city or...

Recognizing the many benefits biofuels provide to the state’s economy, agricultural industry and environment, Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed the month of March Biofuels Month in Kansas. Support for renewable fuels flows from the governor’s office through her cabinet as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam praised the industry for its work providing high-quality products to producers and consumers alike. “Biofuels are a meaningful contributor to Kansas agriculture by adding value to the Kansas economy,” Beam said. “The livestock industry appreciates the co-products biofuels provide in the form of DDGS and soybean...

This week was “Turnaround” for the Kansas legislature, where all bills that are not otherwise exempt must be passed out of their chamber of origin in order to remain alive this year. The most heavily watched issue this week was a bill passed by the Senate allowing sports betting at the four state-owned casinos, and internet gaming on professional sports and college sports, and horse racing (but not greyhound dogs). Made lawful by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, the state’s 10 percent tax on these activities is estimated to...

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...

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