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 2016 Legislative & Policy Watch Weekly E-Update

No. 13  April 8, 2016

In This Issue
Kansas Laws Passed
How to Receive Policy Watch
About Policy Watch

About Policy Watch E-Updates

The Legislative and Policy Watch Weekly E-Update is a project of the Kansas Rural Center.

In 2015, KRC is partnering with the Kansas Natural Resources Council,Audubon of Kansas, and Ks. Association of Regional Development Organizations to provide this report to their members.  We thank them for their support and assistance.

Editor: Mary Fund
Paul Johnson, Policy Analyst

To Support 
Policy Watch

Policy Watch Sponsors
  The Kansas Rural Center
promotes the health of the land and its people through research, education and advocacy that advance an ecologically sound, economically viable,  and socially just agriculture. For more information about KRC go to
The Kansas Natural Resource Council (KNRC)
promotes environmentally responsible practices and sustainable natural resource policies to ensure the quality and abundance of these resources for future generations. For more information about our organization and programs, or how to become a member, please visit  To be removed from the KNRC Policy Watch list, please contact  Sharon Ashworth at

Audubon of Kansas (AOK) is a statewide non-profit organization  established to promote appreciation and stewardship of Kansas' natural ecosystems, with special emphasis on conservation of prairies, birds, other wildlife, and habitat.For more information about our organization and our programs, or how to become a member, please visit
 to be removed from the AOK Policy Watch list, please contact Monica Goss at

Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations, Inc. (KARDO) is a statewide, non-profit organization established to improve the ability of both organizations and individuals engaged in regional planning and development to service the needs of all parts of Kansas in an effective and efficient manner.  For more information about our organization and programs, and to become a member or donate, please visit .  To be removed from the KARDO Policy Watch list, contact John Cyr at .

     The next issue of Policy Watch will be April 22, just prior to the Legislature's  veto session, which starts  on April 27.
         M. Fund, Editor

Election Timelines
          by Paul Johnson

The 2016 Primary Election is just four months away and
 the November General Election is seven months away. 
There will be one U.S. Senate race, all four U.S. House 
seats, all 40 seats in the Kansas Senate and all 125 seats in  the Kansas House up for grabs.

June 1 - Candidate filing deadline; Last day to change 
party affiliation before primary.

July 12 - Last day to register to vote for primary election.

July 13 - First day advance ballots are mailed. In person 
advance voting may begin. Contact your county election 
officer to find out when and where.

August 1 - Noon deadline to cast advance voting ballots in
person in office of County Election Officer.

August 2 - Primary Election; Advance voting ballots must 
be received in office of County Election Officer by close 
of the polls.

October 18 - Last day to register to vote in general 

October 19 - First day advance ballots are mailed. In 
person advance voting may begin. Contact your county 
election officer to find out when and where.

November 4 - Deadline for voters to apply for advance 
voting ballots to be mailed.

November 7 - Noon deadline to cast advance voting ballots i n person in office of county election officer.

November 8 - General Election; Advance voting ballots 
must be received in office of county election officer by 
close of the polls.

(Here is the link to the candidates that have filed so far:

New School Funding Formula
Legislation Proposed

House Bill 2741 was put together by the chairs of the Senate and House Education Committees - Rep. Ron Highland and Sen. Steve Abrams. HB 2741 would create a new finance formula to replace the block grants as of July 1, 2017. 

   This proposed school finance system would reduce funding, including the elimination of state funding for extracurricular activities, and provide tax funds to parents who send their children to private schools or home schools. School districts could increase property taxes without any limit - with voter approval - for those extracurricular activities. The school districts would have to raise their mill levies from the existing 20 mills to 35 mills to fund instruction activities. There is uncertainty whether committee hearings will be held on this bill during the veto session. 

How to Contact Your Legislator

Kansas House of Representatives,
 Click Here

For House  Committees, 
    Click  Here

Kansas Senate
   Click  Here
For Senate Committees, 
     Click  Here

2016 Kansas Laws Passed

Senate Bill 329 allows the Chief Engineer of the Division of Water Resources of the Kansas Department of Agriculture to change the place of use of a base water right for a multi-year flex account (MYFA) term permit. MYFA's are five year water rights where a farmer can vary annual water usage over five years but cannot exceed the five year water rights total. Under current law, a MYFA change in place of use would require a new MYFA term permit being issued by the Chief Engineer.

Senate Bill 330 establishes the Kansas Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in statue. The CREP was first created by the 2007 Legislature and has existed since then by its authorizing language being annually included in appropriation bills. In Western Kansas, CREP is used to buy existing water rights to conserve water and assist with stream flow. In eastern Kansas, CREPs will be used as buffer strips to control soil loss into the reservoirs and improve water quality. The whole program is capped at 40,000 acres statewide and there are limitations on how many of these acres can be located in one county. It will now take new law to modify these restrictions.

HCR 5008 is a proposed state constitutional amendment to establish a constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap wildlife in Kansas. This amendment would specify that hunting and fishing shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This amendment would not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or water resources. A simple majority vote in the November 2016 general election will put this amendment in the Kansas Constitution.

Senate Bill 334 enacts new law and amends existing law related to the ability of the Attorney General to be fully heard before any Kansas statute or constitutional provision is determined by a Kansas court to be invalid or unconstitutional. The Attorney General has 21 days from the date of any notice to appear or intervene. The Attorney General is not required to intervene.

Senate Bill 423 changes the name of Kansas State University - Salina, College of Technology to Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus.

House Resolution 6045 states the Kansas House supports the use of sound science to study and regulate modern agricultural technologies such as crop protection chemistries, and genetically engineered or enhanced traits and nutrients. The resolution states that the Kansas House opposes legislation or regulatory action, at any level, that may result in unnecessary restrictions on the use of modern agricultural technologies. In this resolution there is no definition of 'sound science' such that the research should be peer reviewed, the results published in a reputable science journal and no required disclosure of the funding source for the research. 'Unnecessary restrictions' means no mandatory labelling of genetically modified food.      

Senate Bill 314 re-establishes the Local Food and Farm Task Force and establishes a new sunset for the Task Force of July 1, 2017. The bill continues the membership of the Task Force, provides for Task Force staffing and directs the Task Force to prepare a Local Food and Farm Plan to be submitted at the beginning of the 2017 Legislative Session. The bill revises the directives and adds a new directive for the Task Force to study:
1)   Identification of financial opportunities, technical support, and training necessary to expand production and sales of locally grown agricultural products;(revised)
2)   Identification of strategies and funding needs to make locally grown foods more accessible;(revised)
3)   Identification of factors affecting affordability and profitability of local grown foods.(new)   
 Senate Bill 367 creates and amends laws related to the Kansas juvenile justice system. Effective July 1, 2017, the bill establishes overall case length limits for misdemeanors, low-risk/moderate-risk offenders and high-risk offenders. The bill requires the Kansas Department of Corrections to consult with the Supreme Court in adopting rules and regulations by January 1, 2017, for a statewide system of structured community-based graduated responses for technical probation violations, conditional release violations, and sentence condition violations to be used by community supervision officers. Effective January 1, 2017, a court must appoint a multidisciplinary team to review cases where a juvenile fails to substantially comply with the development of the immediate intervention plan. The bill establishes the Kansas Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee to oversee the implementation of reforms in the juvenile justice system by September 1, 2016. There are 19 committee members and they must file annual reports starting November 30, 2017. (In the Kansas Legislative Research Department's write-up, there are 17 pages dedicated to this bill.)

Senate Sub. for House Bill 2655 amends statues relating to school finance. The bill alters statutory formulas for providing Supplemental General State Aid and Capital Outlay State Aid for 2017. The bill amends law related to the School District Extraordinary Need Fund and provides for School District Equalization State Aid. This bill added no new money for 2017 and will be presented to the Kansas Supreme Court for review. $38 million in new money would have fully funded the past school funding formula in regards to state aid equity among all school districts.

Senate Bill 338 revises provisions of law pertaining to the authority of cities and nonprofit organizations to petition the district court to possess abandoned property temporarily for rehabilitation purposes. 'Abandoned property' and 'blighting influence' are redefined in this bill.

(The Kansas Legislative Research Department has issued two summaries - March 24 and March 28 - of the major legislation passed by the 2016 Kansas Legislature. The website is: )

Kansas Legislature Website
  While we will provide information on calendars and upcoming hearings on some bills and issues, this information on committees, weekly calendars and schedules, bills, etc.  is directly available at the website below:

How to Ensure You Receive Weekly Policy E-Updates
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In 2016, KRC is partnering with the Kansas Natural Resource Council , 
Audubon of Kansas, and Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations (KARDO) to send Policy Watch to their members. We thank them for their support. 

 If you are receiving Policy Watch because you are an AOK member, to be removed you need to contact Monica Goss at  To be removed as a KNRC member, contact Sharon Ashworth at To be removed as a KARDO member, you need to contact John Cyr at 

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About Policy Watch
The Kansas Rural Center
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Topeka, Ks. 66604

   If you have any questions about Policy Watch, contact Mary Fund, editor at, or contact Paul Johnson at


   To learn more about the Kansas Rural Center, please visit our website at