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Minutes for HB2097 - Committee on Agriculture

Short Title

Amending the Kansas pet animal act.

Minutes Content for Mon, Jan 30, 2017

Chair Hoffman opened the hearing on HB2097 at 3:34pm.

Kyle Hamilton, Assistant Revisor, Office of The Revisor of Statutes, provided an overview of HB2097 and the statutes that it affects (Attachment 1).  There is a Fiscal Note for HB2097.

Dr. William Brown, Animal Health Commissioner, Kansas Department of Agriculture, appeared before the Committee in support of HB2097. (Attachment 2)  In an effort to provide clarity and efficiency, HB2097 would consolidate the number of license categories.  The animal breeder category consolidates retail breeders, hobby breeders, USDA-inspected breeders and non-USDA inspected breeders.  This new streamlined license category will be simpler and less confusing with no negative impact on licensees. In addition to breeders, license categories would also include animal shelters, boarding or training premises, pet shops, animal distributors, rescue networks, and pet animal foster homes.

HB2097 would establish statutory fees for all categories except animal shelters, animal breeders, and pet shops. These fees will not exceed an assigned fee in statute, and will be determined by subcategories to be set in regulation. This will enable the Animal Facilities Inspection (AFI) program to continue to provide critical services to the pet animal industry while reducing the program's reliance on State General Fund dollars.

Mike Beam, Senior Vice President, Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), appeared before the Committee in support of HB2097. (Attachment 3)  KLA supported legislation in 2010 that made a significant increase in animal disease control fees, assessed to the livestock industry.  This resulted in a higher percentage of fee revenue support for the animal disease control program.  An increase in the animal facility inspection program fees should result in a more equitable distribution of limited general funds among these two programs.

Midge Grinstead, Kansas Senior State Director, The Humane Society of the United States, appeared before the committee in support of HB2097. (Attachment 4)  This bill does some good things, for shelters and rescues including adding the rescue network, a rescue network representative on the Governor's Companion Animal Board and mobile adoptions.  However, it does not address the serious animal health and welfare problems that make Kansas the #3 worst puppy mill state in the country.  The only way to improve the program and protect families and their animals is to strengthen the program's statutory responsibilities.  

Kelly Kultala, Executive Director, Humane Society Legislative Fund of Kansas, appeared before the Committee in support of HB2097. (Attachment 5)  Our goal is to get rid of puppy mills in out state.  It is clear that the department is not underfunded, but is inefficient and thus ineffective and that unlicensed breeders are sucking up a majority of the state resources.  We look forward to working with all stakeholders regarding this issue to promote legislation that updates and strengthens the pet animal industry in Kansas. 

Sara Meyer, BJ's & Guys LLC, Menlo KS, appeared before the Committee in support of HB2097. (Attachment 6)  The changes in HB2097 address the concerns of the Kansas Pet Animal Advisory Board.  The main issue is a means to fund this program.  No one wants to revisit the early 1990s with the bad press for our state. Being concerned about animal welfare is a given in an agricultural state.  We do not agree with the animal rights agenda.    

Written testimony in support of HB2097 was received from:

Jennifer Clark, American Kennel Club (Attachment 7)

Susan Hakes-Kaufmann, Fairway, KS (Attachment 8)

Kate Meghji, Lawrence Human Society & PACK (Attachment 9)

Nate Meador, Great Plains SPCA (Attachment 10)

Steve Hitchcock, Kansas Federation of Animal Owners, appeared before the Committee in opposition of HB2097. (Attachment 11)  This bill eliminates the common sense structure of the Kansas Pet Animal Act.  It is one that creates and environment which leaves licensees with a less state and predictable regulatory climate.   The pressure to increase fees by an Animal Facilities inspection program which has a shirking number of licensees subject to inspection is at least questionable.  The argument that changing the balance of fee revenue and State General Fund in the AFI program to align more closely with the proportions in other animal health programs is a flawed equivalence.   HB2097 has too many ill-conceived ideas and needs to be rejected.

There were no neutrals of HB2097.

The committee asked questions from proponents and opponents.

Jackie McClaskey, Secretary, Kansas Department of Agriculture, and Jeff Jones, Program Manager for Animal Facility Inspection Program, Kansas Department of Agriculture, also answered questions from the committee.

The hearing on HB2097 was closed at 4:44pm.

Chair Hoffman adjourned the meeting at 4:46pm.