2011 WILDLIFE, PARKS AND TOURISM LEGISLATIVE REPORT
KDWP merged with Division of Tourism
TOPEKA — The 2011 Kansas Legislative Session officially ended June 1, and a number of bills — and an executive reorganization order (ERO) — were considered by the Kansas Legislature that affect the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The most significant was ERO No. 36, which merges the Department of Wildlife and Parks with the Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, creating a new agency — the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).
The following is a brief overview of bills affecting the state’s natural resource agency. The full text of each bill may be obtained through the internet at www.kslegislature.org/li/.
Executive Reorganization Order No. 36 — Renaming the Department of Wildlife and Parks as the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; abolishing the Assistant Secretary of Operations position and creating an Assistant Secretary of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Boating, and an Assistant Secretary of Parks and Tourism; and transferring the Division of Travel and Tourism at the Department of Commerce to the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Neither House passed a resolution opposing ERO No. 36; therefore ERO No. 36 became effective July 1.
Bills That Passed
SB 123 — This bill allows KDWPT cabin fees to be established by the KDWPT Secretary, with consideration of the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission, streamlining the process of adjusting fees for existing cabins and setting fees for new cabins coming on line. The bill passed the Senate 39-0 in its original form. The bill was amended on the House floor to include land acquisition restrictions on KDWPT included in the original HB 2149. SB 123 then passed the House, as amended, 102-22. The final version of the bill after conference included the original cabin provisions and restricted KDWPT land purchases without prior legislative approval to 320 or fewer or 640 acres or fewer if under appraised value or as approved by the State Finance Council. The bill was signed by the Governor and was effective July 1.
SB 152 — The bill allows a person with a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed handgun while legally hunting, fishing, or furharvesting, and it also allows any person who lawfully possesses a firearm suppressing device to use that device in conjunction with lawful hunting, fishing, and furharvesting. The bill passed the Senate 38-1 on March 9 and passed the House 124-0 on March 22. The bill was signed by the Governor and was effective July 1.
HB 2013 — This bill repealed laws that restricted the sale and delivery of rifles and shotguns to or from residents of states that are contiguous to Kansas as well as restricted Kansans from purchasing the same firearms in states other than contiguous ones. The bill passed the House 118-0 and the Senate 38-0. The bill was signed by Governor and was effective July 1.
Bills/Resolutions That Did Not Pass But Are Still Alive For the 2012 Session
SB 3 — This bill would establish, in statute, the Kansas Natural Resources subcabinet for the purpose of coordinating the water natural resource goals of executive agencies within the state. This bill was introduced in the Senate on Sept. 11, 2010, and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
SB 120 — This bill is known as the vessel titling act and would require all boat owners to obtain a certificate of title evidencing ownership. This bill passed the Senate 33-5 on Feb. 23, 2011. The bill was then referred to the House Committee on Transportation and had a hearing on March 9, 2011. The bill has not seen action since then.
HB 2063 — This bill would name the fossil of the Xiphactinus audax fish as the official fossil of the state of Kansas. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
HB 2089 — This bill would allow a licensed hunter or furharvester to retrieve their hunting dog from posted land without permission. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
HB 2146 — This bill would designate Pallasitic peridot as the official gemstone of the state of Kansas. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
HB 2149 — This bill would require the legislature's approval of any KDWPT land purchase greater than 160 acres and remove the legislative approval exemption for land purchased at less than appraised value. The bill passed out of the House Budget Sub-Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources with a recommendation that it be passed as amended. The amendment allowed the Senate Finance Council to approve land acquisitions during times when the Legislature is not in session. The bill passed the House 91-30. The bill was amended in the Senate, and all land acquisition restrictions provisions were amended out of this bill. The bill no longer relates to KDWPT. However, the provisions were placed into SB123 in the House.
HB2152 — This bill strengthens the penalties for the offense of operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This bill was on House General Orders but was withdrawn from calendar and referred to Committee on Appropriations. The bill has not seen action since then.
HB2168 — This bill would waive the state park vehicle entrance fees for any person who is a resident of this state and has been honorably discharged from active service in any branch of the armed forces of the United States. This bill had a hearing but was tabled in committee.
HB2295 — This bill would amend K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 32-919, 32-932, 32-937, 32-980, and 32-988 to exempt a landowner's immediate family members from hunting license requirements while hunting on that landowner's land (current law exempts family members domiciled with the landowner); would amend the current disability exemption that allows the use of a crossbow during the archery season to allow anyone to use crossbows during the archery season; would extend the "extended season for female white-tailed deer hunting with the use of firearms through January 23, 2012"; would amend the formula used to establish nonresident deer permit quotas so that the percent increase in permit numbers by unit required the first year (2008) the formula was used to be adhered to every year; would allow a landowner's immediate family members to purchase hunt-own-land permits whether or not they were domiciled with the landowner (currently the landowner's immediate family domiciled with the landowner may purchase hunt-own-land permits and a landowner's siblings and lineal descendants and ascendants and their spouses may purchase special hunt-own-land permits regardless of residency); would establish a mandatory contribution of at least $2 to activities of Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Inc. (current law allows a voluntary contribution); and would raise the maximum price that could be charged for nonresident big game permits to $800, $300 for nonresident mule deer stamp, and $50 for an application fee. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, had a hearing, and was then referred to a sub-committee for further hearing. The bill then was recommended to be tabled by the sub-committee and subsequently tabled by the full committee.
HB 2398 — This bill would amend the definition of feral swine in KSA 47-1809 to include Russian boar or European boar and makes violations of the statute-importation, possession, release, and sport hunting of feral swine Class C misdemeanors rather than civil penalties.
House Concurrent Resolution No. 5017 — This resolution proposes amending the constitution of the state of Kansas relating to the classification and taxation of watercraft. The resolution would allow the voters of the state of Kansas to decide, by amending the Constitution, whether or not the Legislature should be allowed to alter the level of taxation on vessels. The resolution passed the House 121-2 and was sent to the Senate Taxation Committee.