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Minutes for HB2099 - Committee on Agriculture

Short Title

Relating to remedies for the impairment of a valid water right or permit to divert and use water.

Minutes Content for Thu, Feb 16, 2017

The Chair called the Committee to order to continue the hearing on HB2099 - Relating to remedies for the impairment of a valid water right or permit to divert and use water..

Kyle Hamilton, Assistant Revisor, Office of The Revisor of Statutes, re-briefed the Committee on the contents of HB2099.

The Chair brought to the attention of the Committee that the City of Wichita, an opponent of HB2099 during testimony heard on February 09, 2017, has submitted written testimony withdrawing their opposition to the bill.  (Attachment 1)

Jarvis Garetson, Partner, Garetson Brothers Partnership, appeared before the Committee in opposition of HB2099.  He discussed the creation of his family's original well in the early 1900s, and the subsequent re-drillings in the past few years. The Partnership has had to defend their senior rights and received a judicial verdict in their favor earlier this month.  Mr Garetson had submitted administrative action in 2005, but withdrew it in 2007.  The Partnership is opposed to the portion of HB2099 that limits a vested, or senior water right owner from going to the courts until after the administrative route is exhausted. The senior water right owner should get to decide whether to use the administrative route or take the matter to court, not the junior owner when it comes to impairment. By making the vested, or senior right owner exhaust the administrative route first, you are in effect defending the junior right from the judicial action.  (Attachment 2)

Erik Sartorius, Executive Director, League of Kansas Municipalities, appeared before the Committee as a neutral of HB2099.  Since our members were not part of the discussion during the creation of HB2099.  We are grateful for the chance to discuss with the supporters of the bill prior to the committee taking action and ensure that our members are not opposed to HB2099.    (Attachment 3)

The hearing on HB2099 was closed at 3:55pm.