20 Apr KARA Commends Governor Laura Kelly’s Signature on Water Resource Investment Legislation
Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) commends Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s signature on Senate Substitute for HB 2302 as the association successfully worked throughout the 2023 Kansas legislative session to secure increased funding for the State Water Plan and agricultural water conservation projects.
“As one of the main proponents behind the final form of this legislation, our membership, board of directors and water subcommittee are appreciative Governor Kelly and a bipartisan majority of our state’s elected officials recognize the importance of dedicated funding to address water quantity and quality issues,” KARA President and CEO Ron Seeber said.
The bill designates $35 million in additional annual funding toward the state water plan fund. This funding is in addition to the current $18 million directed annually to the fund ($6 million from ag fees, $6 million from municipal water fees, and $6 million from SGF). The additional funding will run annually through state fiscal year 2027. Notably, the bill also appropriates $52 million in state general funds to pay off our state debt on the Milford and Perry Reservoirs.
“We must protect the water that has powered our booming farming economy for generations,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I’m proud that Republicans and Democrats were able to come together to make progress on this pressing crisis, investing a historic level of resources into major water storage projects.”
KARA met with House and Senate leadership to express our support for the additional funding for agricultural water conservation projects. KARA is grateful the final version of the bill uses state general funds to pay off $52 million in state reservoir debt, rather than taking this money every year from the state water plan fund as was initially proposed by the House bill.
“Water is one of our most vital natural resources and has been taken for granted far too long. Senate Substitute for HB 2302 is an effort to more fully fund the Kansas Water Office to address water quantity and water quality,” House Water Committee Chairman Representative Jim Minnix said. “This will benefit all Kansans — rural, urban, Republican, Democrats, younger, and older. The Kansas House Water Committee has worked diligently with many stakeholders to put these policies and long-term funding plans together for future Kansans.”