The Senate easily passed bills redirecting state sales tax revenue to Kansas State Fair building projects and to initiate unannounced state inspections of pet-animal breeding facilities.
Sen. Edward Berger, R-Hutchinson, received unanimous support Thursday for Senate Bill 415 altering distribution of sales taxes generated at the fairgrounds. Current law forwards 83 percent of sales tax revenue to the state treasury, but the bill would would transfer that money to the fair’s capital improvement fund starting in July.
The arrangement would delete a provision in state law appropriating at least $100,000 in general state aid to the fair, Berger said.
“Basically, what this bill does is help shore up some of the capital improvements on the state fairgrounds,” he said. “We have about 70 buildings on the state fairgrounds. They’re in need of deferred maintenance. Having this dependable stream of money, money that’s raised on the state fairgrounds, would be of great benefit.”
He said the bill stipulated the arrangement would expire if the fair was moved outside Hutchinson.
Meanwhile, the Senate voted 34-6 for legislation requiring the Kansas Department of Agriculture to raise fees assessed animal shelters and to begin making unannounced inspections of breeding kennels. The department routinely performs surprise inspections at animal shelters and rescue facilities, but notifies breeders as much as a day in advance of an inspection.
“I heard from a lot of folks back home and all across the state. The ones that are good, they want to raise standards for their facilities because they want their clients to know that they take care of these animals,” said Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick.
Sen. Richard Billinger, R-Goodland, said breeders shouldn’t be required to endure unannounced inspections common at restaurants, hospitals, day-care centers, liquor stores and nursing homes. He said the Humane Society of the United States has been an advocate of unscheduled assessments of breeding centers.
“I know HSUS has been pushing this. We keep wanting to put policy in instead of just working on the fees,” Billinger said.