Special Session Update:
The House convened this morning at 8 a.m. and broke until 3 p.m. while it waits on the Senate to work the Hard-50 bill that the House passed to it 122-0 on Tuesday.
The Senate, in at 9 a.m., broke until 1:30 p.m., and likely will reconvene, break again for caucuses, then consider the Hard-50, and about 20 confirmations including that of Caleb Stegall, who has been nominated to the Kansas Court of Appeals by Gov. Sam Brownback.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is now considering the Hard-50 bill, and the talk around the Capitol is there won’t be significant, if any, amendments to the bill.
The day could be wrapped up this afternoon if there are no amendments to the House’s version of Hard-50 or minimal amendments in the Senate that the House might concur with.
As soon as the Senate has taken final action on an unamended Hard-50, the House’s work for the special session is done, the House having no role in confirmations proceedings.
If the stars all align, it looks like everyone will be packed up and headed for home sometime this afternoon.
Corporate Agriculture Update:
A group of six lawyers and two legislators met Friday, August 30th to discuss the constitutionality of the state’s corporate farming law — a law targeted for elimination recently.
An effort to roll back the 82-year-old law that restricts corporate farming in Kansas stalled last year, despite support from Gov. Sam Brownback and Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman, who said the law is outdated and limits economic growth.
The Kansas Judicial Council’s Agricultural Corporations Advisory Committee took a look at it Friday at the behest of Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington.
“Rep. Schwartz was kind of the impetus for this, the initial request,” said Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, the committee chairman who is also a lawyer.
Schwartz, who farms with her family in rural Washington county, is the only non-lawyer on the advisory committee.
Kinzer said the committee’s goal wasn’t to recommend policy, but to determine “are there questions with respect to the constitutional footing of the Kansas statute and would there be things we could do either implicating or not implicating policy changes.”
Discussion swirled around the extent of the U.S. Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause as it relates to the Kansas law’s requirements that those farming the land either live on the property or be involved in its management and a clause that gives counties authority to determine whether they will allow large-scale hog or dairy farms that don’t fit the family farm model.
The discussion was observed by representatives from several agriculture lobbying groups and officials from the Department of Agriculture.
Friday’s meeting concluded with the board agreeing to reconvene after more study.
Future advisory committee meeting dates have been set for September 27, October 25, and November 22, 2013, all at 1:30 p.m. in the Kansas Judicial Center. The Kansas Judicial Council’s next meeting is December 6, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in the Kansas Judicial Center, south of the state capitol.