TRUCK WEIGHT, WATER BILLS SENT TO GOV. BROWNBACK

Prior to adjourning the 2017 regular session, state legislators passed and sent to Gov. Sam Brownback a KLA-supported bill that would increase the legal gross vehicle weight limit from 85,500 lbs. to 90,000 lbs. for trucks hauling agricultural inputs and commodities. HB 2095 would restrict the new weight limit to trucks equipped with a six-axle semi-trailer combination. If signed by the governor, the new law will become effective July 1, 2017.
Also last week, the House and Senate passed the conference committee report on SB 46 and sent it to Gov. Brownback for his signature. Supported by KLA, the bill would modify the current water conservation areas law and provide more flexibility for feedyards and dairies in using existing water rights. SB 46 also includes changes in law for consideration of a water right impairment. Under current law, a water right holder can either go straight to district court or file a complaint with the chief engineer. SB 46 would funnel all impairment cases through the chief engineer before a water right holder could go to district court.
In other action, lawmakers passed a “rescission” bill before adjourning. This bill makes several adjustments to the state’s 2017 budget and erases the estimated $280 million deficit.
When Kansas lawmakers reconvene May 1, they will focus on the 2018 and 2019 budgets, a new school finance plan and a tax increase to pay for future state expenditures.