TOPEKA — Governor Laura Kelly has signed into law a bill establishing Lehigh Portland Trails as a state park, adding the Allen County Natural Area to the list of 27 other state parks.
The park is built on the site of a former cement plant and quarry and runs along the banks of Elm Creek in Iola. The legislationthe signing of which Kelly announced on Wednesday, also allows disabled veterans to obtain free permanent hunting and fishing licenses.
“As former executive director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association, I know firsthand how important our parks are to our communities and our economy,” Kelly said in a press release Wednesday. “This bill also helps our veterans overcome financial barriers to participate in all the good our parks have to offer.”
During the April 6 Senate debate on the bill, Sen. Alicia Straub, a Republican from Ellinwood, said she was troubled by the location of the bill because she felt Lt. Gov. David Toland, a native of Allen County, was too tied to the park project.
“It’s just a little concerning that this looks like a pet project of an individual government and a state, and that all of these entities and grant programs are all tied to the same person,” Straub said.
Other lawmakers endorsed Park, with the legislation passing 35-5 in the Senate and 114-9 in the House.
“As a seventh-generation Allen Countian, I am pleased to see that this bill recognizes the beauty, benefits and economic opportunity that those of us in the area have always seen at the Lehigh Portland site,” Toland said. in a press release on the bill. signature.
Kelly also announced the signing of six other bipartisan bills on Wednesday.
She signed an invoice expanded eligibility for a state pension program, called the Deferred Retirement Option Program. DROP allows eligible members to withdraw from retirement and continue working while their monthly retirement benefit accumulates in a DROP account. Membership was limited to state troopers, examiners, Kansas Highway Patrol officers, and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents. The law extends eligibility to Kansas police and firefighters.
The bill passed 32-6 in the Senate and 120-3 in the House.
Another bill signing announced Wednesday was Under-Senate. for HB 2058, which amends state sports betting law. The legislation states that the governor would conduct “good faith” negotiations with any federally recognized Native American tribe that wishes to negotiate a sports betting pact. Another part of the bill uses tax revenue from historic horse racing betting to fund the Kansas Horse Breeding Development Fund and the Horse Fair Racing Benefit Fund.
The bill passed the Senate 26-13 and the House 94-29.
Kelly signed House Bill 2125 thus, which allows tattoo and body piercing businesses to apply for charity event and demonstration permits, among other provisions.
The Senate approved the measure 38-1 and the House passed it 122-1.
Another signed invoice, Under-Senate. for HB 2170, allows people who believe their charitable donations have been misappropriated to take legal action. The bill applies to people who have contributed to or created an endowment fund under certain conditions and who subsequently find that these restrictions have not been respected. Under the law, donors can file a complaint within two years of discovering a violation of the donor agreement, as long as 40 years or less have passed since the endowment agreement was entered into.
The bill passed the Senate 37-3 and the House 110-12.
Senate Bill 85, which passed the Senate 36-4 and the House 118-5, creates a framework for Kansas-based travel insurance. The Kansas Travel Insurance Act takes effect in January 2024 and covers travel insurance sold, solicited, negotiated or offered in the state as well as policies and certificates issued in the state. Another piece of legislation states that the Kansas State Employees Health Care Commission is no longer required to offer long-term care insurance and indemnity insurance options as a benefit.
House lawmakers voted 108-15 and Senate lawmakers voted 40-0 to Senate Bill 119, which clarifies language and documentary requirements for insurance purposes. The legislation is intended to help the Kansas Insurance Commissioner better enforce the law.