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Bills regulating milk and beef considered at statehouse
FROM THE DOME TO HOME
Troy Waymaster 2019
Rep. Troy Waymaster

Last Thursday, February 13, 2020, the Senate Agricutlural and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 308, which would change regulations regarding the sale and advertisement of raw milk products in Kansas. The hearing itself had considerable testimony from those either for or against the bill.

One change in the proposed law is the sale of raw milk, which would allow producers of raw milk to advertise it from beyond the premises of dairy farms, where current state law allows for advertisement only on the premises of dairy farms. 

The other major change is the labeling of raw milk, which would add language to the containers of raw milk or raw milk products sold in Kansas.  This change would require a disclaimer regarding health concerns over raw milk consumption. Additionally, the bill would require that the font of the disclaimer be the same size, or greater, than other language on the container of for raw milk.

Proponent testimony regarding the bill was provided by the Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Department of Agriculture, and other groups. Their testimony focused mostly on health concerns of raw milk consumption and on the need for labeling and advertising regulations that would protect consumers from the risks of cosuming raw milk.

Opponent testimony to the bill was provided by the Kansas Justice Institute, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, and a number of Kansas dairy operators. Their testimony aimed at countering the health concerns of raw milk consumption.  They also voiced concerns that labeling regulations in the law would be onerous to dairy operators, both economically and to their first amendment rights.


Where’s the Beef

The question of meat and alternative meat products has reached the point of legislation in the Kansas Legislature. House bill 2437 was recommended out of the House Ag Committee to the House Floor last week. The proposed legislation concerns the labelling of alternative meat products. Under the proposed legislation new definitions would be added to the Kansas legal code, like “meat analog”, meaning any food that approximates the aesthetic qualities or chemical characteristic of any specific meat type or product but does contain any meat or meat products, and “identifiable meat term”, which would include all meat items from beef to goat to roast to wings. The bill would also require a disclaimer for meat analog products sold in stores that lacked a disclaimer, otherwise they would be misbranded under Kanas law. 


This Week In Appropriations

This Monday, February 10, the House Appropriations Committee began the budgeting process by having the budget chairmen report the recommendations for their respective budgets.

Throughout the week, we heard and deliberated on the budgets and then made our amendments or changes to be included in the final budgets for 2020 and 2021.  Some of the budgets that we had reported were:  Kansas Historical Society, Insurance Department, State Library, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Sentencing Commission, Kansas Highway Patrol, Board of Cosmetology, Kansas Neurological Institute, the budgets for all of the state hospitals, and numerous more.

The committee also held bill hearings on new legislation that has been introduced this legislative session.

The first bill that had a hearing on is House Bill 2548, which are claims against the state of Kansas.  The next three bills all referenced the Kansas Corporate Commission to combine two funds regarding abandoned oil wells in the state of Kansas.

We also held a hearing on the Executive Reorganization, as mentioned in last week’s newsletter, that will rename the Kansas Department of Children and Families to the Kansas Department of Human Services.


Reciprocal Licensing for Military Service Members and Spouses

The House Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development held a hearing Thursday on House Bill 2506, which would allow military service members and their spouses to apply for and receive an occupational or professional license in Kansas if they currently hold a license in another state.  If they have already received the training and qualifications to practice a specific profession in another state, this bill would allow them to receive that same license here in Kansas.  This includes all Kansas regulated professions such as accountants, cosmetologists, realtors, pharmacists, and several other professions, but does not include the law profession.

If an individual received a license in another state which had fewer or lesser requirements for a professional license and should they seek an equivalent license in Kansas, that individual would still be required to make up the difference in order to meet the Kansas requirements. Individuals who have established or plans to establish residency in Kansas may apply for an equivalent license in Kansas as well.  

Like many other states, Kansas is enjoying a relatively low unemployment rate. However, also like other states across the country, Kansas needs more qualified workers. The legislation is modeled after an Arizona law signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in April 2019, and has been widely promoted by President Trump.

Proponents of the bill asserted it will ease the transition of military servicemember and their spouses, increasing the pool of qualified workers to fill job openings in communities across the state and will eliminate governmental licensing barriers costs and regulations. Opponents argued that the language is too broad and would create administrative hurdles for the regulatory agencies.

This legislation will help ease the transition of our military servicemembers and their spouses, should they have a technical or professional license.  If they have received the proper training and licensure to practice their profession, they are work-ready and able to contribute to the Kansas economy.  President Trump has widely promoted this legislation in effort to reduce work-related barriers.


Contact Information

Anytime that one would like to participate and listen to the developments of committee hearings or discussion on the House floor, one can tune in by listening to the audio footage at www.kslegislature.org.

As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me (785) 296-7672, follow on twitter at #waymaster4house, or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov.  Also, if you happen to visit the statehouse, please let my office know. 

It is a distinct honor to serve as your representative for the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.  I always appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas, as well.


Rep. Troy L. Waymaster, 109th District, serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Born and raised in Russell, he continues today to be active in the farming operation of the family farm south of Bunker Hill today. Waymaster represents the Barton County communities of Albert, Olmitz, Galatia, Susank, Odin and Claflin.