This week marked the fifth week of session with the first half of the legislative session almost behind us. As we approach “turn-around” which is February 27th, next week will be the last week for committees to hear and work bills before the half-way point of 2020 session.
FLOOR ACTION – February 12, 2020
The Senate considered the appointment of Laurel Searles, as a member of the Kansas Human Rights Commission on February 12. The appointment was confirmed 40-0. Laurel Searles is the Director of Unemployment Insurance with the Kansas Department of Labor and will serve in the Labor Representative seat on the commission.
SNAPSHOT OF THE KANSAS LEGISLATURE 2020
The Kansas Senate consists of forty Senators – twenty-nine Republicans, eleven Democrats with thirteen women and twenty-seven men. Fifteen Senators live in cities of 100,000+ population, nine with 20,000 to 100,000, six with 5,000-20,000 and six with 2,000-5000 and four with 0-2000. The Kansas House of Representatives consists of one-hundred twenty-five members with eighty-four Republicans and 41 Democrats with thirty-one women and ninety-four men.
Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee–NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures)
United States Oil Production Tops 1 Billion Barrels Oil production from federal onshore and offshore parcels and American Indian-owned lands managed by the DOI topped a record 1 billion barrels in FY 2019, a 13% increase from 2018. Royalties from the oil production increased 21% from 2018 to $7.5 billion last year, with about half of the funds returning to the states that produced the oil, and the remainder going to the U.S. Treasury.
USDA Unveils Two New Crop Insurance Plans for Hemp USDA announced two new crop insurance programs for hemp production. The Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Pilot Insurance Program, available to 20 counties across the country for producers who have previously grown hemp, provides coverage should a farmer face weather-related losses. The national Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program provides coverage against loss for hemp grown for losses due to low yields. For both programs, any growers seeking insurance are required to comply with all state and federal rules concerning the growing of hemp.
More Funds Available for Farmers Due to Tariffs The USDA announced it was providing crop producers with additional funds as part of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program which aimed to mitigate the impact of retaliatory tariffs. Thus far the 2019 program has provided farmers with $11 billion in federal aid, with this third round expected to provide approximately $3.5 billion in additional aid. The funding comes in addition to the recent signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and Phase 1 of a trade deal with China. Payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. Likewise, federal funds are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000 even if they qualify in multiple areas.
State of Kansas fun Agricultural fact
In 1990, Kansas produced enough wheat to give everyone on earth 6 loaves of bread (33 billion loaves).
GOOD NEWS FOR SENATE DISTRICT #36
The Department of Commerce 2020 Community Development Block Grant Program has awarded 39 projects across the state totaling $17,486,103 of federal funds received to the state of Kansas. Ten cities and counties in Senate District #36 will receive these grants: City of Concordia - $561,660 for sewer projects, City of Miltonvale - $35,212 for demolition projects, City of Lincoln - $600,000 water system, City of Marysville - $600,000 new fire station, City of Belleville - $175,000 for pumper fire truck, City of Lucas – $264,852 for community & library project, City of Russell - $600,000 for street project, City of Hanover - $600,000 water system, City of Minneapolis - $300,000 housing rehabilitation and demolition, and Osborne County - $60,350 for a brush fire truck. Each community awarded across the state has a population less than 50,000. For additional information on the grants from the Department of Commerce call 785 296-3004
ORPHAN TRAIN PODCAST – Concordia
One of the true treasures in Senate District #36 is the Orphan Train Museum. This incredible facility and story is something every Kansan should see, understand, and celebrate. Under the leadership of Shaley George and her board of directors; the Museum continues to do an amazing job of collecting, archiving, and sharing the Orphan Train story which is such a critical part of both Kansas and American history. Scott Heidner with Braden Heidner Lowe & Associates in Topeka records podcasts of interesting people and places in Kansas and spent a day in Concordia and recorded a conversation with Shaley and it is now available to the public at https://bhlpodcasting.libsyn.com/bhl-podcast-show-ft-shaley-george-national-orphan-train-complex. Listen in and enjoy the discussion of this historic site.
VISITORS FROM SENATE DISTRICT #36
The fifth week of session was one of the busiest of the legislative year so far. The Kansas State Fire Fighters Association held their annual reception for legislators at the Historic Fire Station #2 in downtown Topeka. Members from home with the North Central-Flint Hills Area on Aging had lunch with us for Older Kansans Day and stayed to watch the Senate session. Leadership Mitchell County invited Rep. Susan Concannon and myself to join them for lunch and a legislative update from us. Osborne County seniors visited the Capitol and had lunch with Rep. Troy Waymaster while I stopped in for a visit with them. Kansas Farm Bureau members met with legislators for lunch. The County Treasurers, County Appraisers and members of the Kansas Chiropractic Association held their yearly meet and greet event with legislators.
I always encourage you to stay informed of the issues under consideration by the Kansas Legislature. Committee schedules, bills, and other helpful information can be easily accessed through the legislature’s website at www.kslegislature.org. You are also able to ‘listen in live’ at this website. The House meets at 11:00AM and the Senate at 2:30PM. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions. An email is the best at this point in the session.
Thank you for the honor of serving you!
Senator Elaine Bowers
Kansas State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th St.
Topeka, KS 66612