The bill introduction and committee hearing pace picked up last week at the state Capitol. KLA staff is monitoring and providing input on various pieces of legislation important to livestock producers.

Immigration and labor - Multiple state immigration bills have surfaced this session. Two new bills (SB 284 and HB 2492) would require businesses that contract with the state, counties or cities to participate in the federal E-verify program. E-verify is an internet-based program that determines the eligibility of employees to work in the U.S. An employer-friendly bill supported by KLA also was introduced last week. This legislation will be assigned a bill number in the near future.

Tax reform - Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to reduce state income taxes was formally introduced last week. SB 339 and the House companion, HB 2560, would lower the income tax rate, reduce the tax brackets from three to two and eliminate most state income tax deductions and credits. In addition, the legislation would eliminate the Kansas individual income tax on non-wage business income for LLCs, subchapter S corporations and sole proprietorships. Two additional tax reform proposals are expected to be introduced by the House Republicans and the special Senate Tax Policy Study Group.

Corporate farm law - The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing last week to consider HB 2502. This bill would change the state’s corporate farming statute to allow the board of county commissioners to approve the establishment of swine production facilities in a county. The law also would increase the amount from 5% to 10% of qualified voters needed on a protest petition challenging the commissioners’ decision to allow a swine or dairy production facility.

Dairy Marketing Advisory Board - The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee also heard testimony on HB 2503, which would change the responsibilities of the Dairy Marketing Advisory Board. KLA and the Kansas Dairy Association submitted testimony calling for the board to be repealed because the proposed new board duties are best conducted by producer-run advocacy groups like KLA.

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