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Bills important to livestock producers gain Brownback's signature

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed three bills into law recently that are important to the state’s livestock producers. The Kansas Livestock Association supported each of these bills during the legislative session.

House Bill 2363 addresses a number of water-related issues. Perhaps most significant to KLA members are the provisions related to dams in Kansas. The bill exempts many dams from permit requirements. A permit no longer is required for construction or modification of a hazard class A dam that has a height of less than 30 feet and a storage volume at the top of the emergency spillway elevation of less than 125 acre feet. Dams that meet these guidelines must be registered with the Division of Water Resources, but are not required to be permitted. If a dam is a class A hazard dam, and it is a wastewater storage structure for a confined feeding facility approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, it is not required to be permitted by DWR. Confined feeding facilities previously were required to obtain permits from both KDHE and DWR, resulting in duplication and added expense for ranchers, feeders and dairymen.

Senate Bill 124 amends the Kansas Restraint of Trade Act. Among other things, the bill makes livestock marketing agreements governed by the Packers and Stockyards Act exempt from KRTA. The bill also allows the courts to consider whether a restraint of trade is reasonable in light of the circumstances. This bill is important because in 2012, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling that placed cattle marketing agreements at risk of being illegal.

Senate Bill 168 is a victory for KLA members because it strengthens the Kansas right-to-farm laws. Specifically, the bill limits the amount of damages available under certain circumstances in nuisance cases; allows operations that reasonably expand to enjoy protection under the right-to-farm laws; and allows property assigned, sold or inherited to remain covered under the right-to-farm laws.

Date: 5/20/2013



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