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Legislative Update Week 10

Senate Bill 34:  Election Crimes

Even though we had a relatively short week, we conducted Legislative session on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we were on the House floor all three days, all day debating, amending, and voting on an array of different issues affecting the state of Kansas.

A bill that we will most likely debate next week is Senate Bill 34, which relates to election crimes, the prosecution of those crimes, and election definitions.  The bill expands the definition of election crimes and would do the following:

· Creates a separate crime of voting more than once, which currently is incorporated in the crime of voting without being qualified.  The new crime would be defined as intentionally voting or attempting to vote more than once in the same jurisdiction in an election, voting more than one U.S. jurisdiction in an election, or inducing or aiding any person to take the before mentioned actions.

· Creates a new law that would give the following officials the prosecutorial authority for a Kansas election crime:  the district attorney or county attorney of the county where such violations occurred, the Kansas Attorney General, and the Kansas Secretary of State.

· Increase the severity level for the crimes of election tampering and false impersonation.

The bill would also amend the declaration signed by voters replacing the phrase “at this election” to “in the election held on this date, in this or any other jurisdiction in the US, for any offices or ballot issue.” 

Antler Bill Discussed, Again

During the 2014 legislative session, the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee debated a bill regarding deer antlers that were illegally hunted on a landowner’s property.  The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism confiscated the antlers, claiming their authority to do so under the Public Trust Doctrine.  During our Agriculture and Natural Resources committee last year, we debated the bill which clarified that the landowner had the right of first refusal of said antlers if they were illegally hunted on their land.  I presented an amendment, which passed, that changed the wording of “antlers” to “all wildlife,” the amendment and bill passed out of committee, the legislature, and was signed by Governor Brownback.

 

However, this year it appears that the Department does not want to adhere to the law that was passed, so we needed to address this legislation again.  This year, there are provisions in the bill that would require retroactivity as it relates to deer antlers, antler sheds, and horns seized by the Department after 2005 and still in the Department’s care, custody, control, management, or possession when the landowner or tenants whose property on which the above mentioned items were unlawfully taken requests to have such wildlife parts returned to the landowner or tenant.

 

Oil and Gas Drilling:  Land-Spreading

On Monday, March 23, I carried Senate Bill 124 on the House floor.  This bill authorizes the Secretary of Health and Environment to adopt rules and regulations on the land-spreading of solid waste generated by drilling oil and gas wells.  The bill would extend indefinitely the land-spreading program managed jointly by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Corporation Commission.  Currently, land-spreading requirements are that no operator may land-spread without having obtained prior written approval from the KCC and, before drilling, each operator that wants to land-spread must submit an application to the KCC.

The bill requires that the seller of any property where land-spreading has occurred within the three previous years must disclose a potential buyer that land-spreading has occurred on said property prior to closing.  The bill also requires that the KCC, in coordination with KDHE, presents a report annually on land-spreading to the Committee on Natural Resources and Ways and Means in the Senate and committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources and Appropriations in the House.  An amendment passed to include the committees of Utilities and Energy and Environment.

The bill would allow for the disposal of waste containing low concentration of naturally occurring radioactive materials, NORM, and technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials, TENORM, by underground burial.  Currently, the underground burial of all low-level radioactive waste is prohibited.  The bill authorizes the Secretary of Health and Environment to establish rules and regulations on or before July 1, 2016, regarding the allowable concentrations and sources of NORM and TENORM waste. 

Finally, Senate Bill 124, would allow the Secretary of Health and Environment, through rules and regulations, to establish variances to water quality standards that may apply to specified pollutants, permitees, or waterbody segments that reflect the highest attainable condition during the specified time period for the variance.  The bill passed the House 100-25.

This Week and Contact Information

The intent of passing the budget bill out of the House Appropriations Committee was to have a full debate in the House Chamber by the end of this week.  Unfortunately, we did not hold that debate this week and hopefully we will before we go on legislative break in April.

Instead, the House debated and voted on an array of bills as we spent each day on the House floor. 

Many of the pieces of legislation that we discussed were impactful bills addressing the needs of the state of Kansas.  Some of these bills have generated much media attention this session and are pieces of legislation regarding firearms, alcohol, the issuance of bonds for KPERS, and abortion. 

We will be back on the floor on Monday morning to address more legislation before our April break which begins April 3, 2015.  Veto Session will then begin on April 27, 2015.

If you have any concerns, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov

It is an honor to serve the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions.  I appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas.

Troy L. Waymaster,

State Representative

109th Kansas House

300 SW 10th

Topeka, KS  66612 


Paid for by Troy Waymaster for 109th Kansas House, James Malone, Treasurer
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