Governor Kelly Signs Bipartisan Bill to Invest Record $35M to Protect Water Resources

~~Gov. Signs Bills to Fully Fund the State Water Plan and Create New Grants for Water Infrastructure Projects~~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed Senate Substitute for HB 2302, a bipartisan bill that increases funding for the State Water Plan, including two funds for grants for water-related infrastructure projects.

In 2022, Governor Kelly fully funded the State Water Plan for the first time since 2008. This bill represents a significant increase in funding for water, adding $18 million on top of the annual $8 million for the State Water Plan and $17 million for the two grant funds. In total, the bill designates an additional $35 million in funding to protect essential water resources. The bill includes that it is legislative intent to continue this funding through 2027.

“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.”

The bill also appropriates $52 million to pay off debt for the Milford and Perry Reservoirs, funding that was included in the Governor’s budget released in January, saving Kansas taxpayers money in long-term interest payments.

“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,” 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.”

Governor Kelly also signed House Bill 2279, a bipartisan bill that requires Kansas’ five Groundwater Management Districts to submit annual reports to the Kansas Legislature with updated water conservation and stabilization plans to the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

The reports to the Legislature will outline expenditures for water conservation efforts and stabilization of agricultural consumption. A Groundwater Management District oversees the management of groundwater resources, conservation, and use in five regions of the state with significant aquifer storage and use.

“With the historic level of funding in HB 2302 and the commitment to conservation in HB 2279, these bills will provide the state tools it desperately needs to address our water crisis,” Representative Lindsay Vaughn, Kansas House District 22, said. “Together, we are committed to ensuring access to this crucial resource for communities large and small, and for the future generations of Kansas.”

Governor Kelly also signed the following bills: 

SB 44 – Enacts the Kansas Financial Institutions Information Security Act to allow the Bank Commissioner to enforce Federal Trade Commission rules to protect Kansans’ finances. 

HB 2014 Modifies emergency medical services statutes to increase the EMS instructor workforce and improve access to EMS education. 

House Substitute for SB 42 – Exempts certain federally certified rural hospitals from a provider assessment fee. Creates certain requirements for members of a hospital board to be qualified electors. 

SB 75 – Amends laws governing the rate of legal interest for civil tort actions to limit prejudgment interest awarded.