Kansas Legislature Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) has introduced HB 2317 in response to a situation that occurred last fall in Northeast Wichita, when Westar installed 57 commercial-grade transmission line poles in a residential community.
The lines caught the community off guard, many of whom knew nothing at all about the poll installation program and others who knew about the poles, but were surprised by the height, girth and poll materials.
The bill expands the definition of electric transmission lines to include urban electric transmission lines that are at least a quarter of a mile in length and transfers 69 kilovolts or more of electricity. This bill will also mandate that the utilities obtain a siting permit, fix public hearings, and be held accountable to the Kansas Corporation Commission prior to taking any sort of action.
“No more bait and switch,” said Rep. Finney. “If homeowners are told they are getting a wooden pole, which they agree to, then homeowners should get a wooden pole. We have homeowners stuck with concrete and metal eyesores in their small front yards–105 feet tall, and between 5 to 10 feet in diameter as Westar provides meager consideration for the community, in some cases, leaving the elderly robbed of the financial security meant to provide for them in their most vulnerable years.”
The legislature has had no policy update on electric transmission lines for 40 years.
“An entire Kansas community has been impacted. You cannot compensate for the loss of generational property imbued with memories. The goal of this legislation is to underscore the rights guaranteed to us and provide a due process for these property owners.”
OTHER BILLS INTRODUCED BY FINNEY
HB 2259 Ban the Box for State Employees Last year, Gov. Jeff Colyer signed an administrative order requiring all State agencies to ban the practice of requiring the question of prior criminal history on initial job applications. If passed, HB2259 would make that practice State Law, which means it could not be repealed by future governors.
HB 2193 Civil Asset Forfeiture – Acquittals Kansas’ current civil asset forfeiture laws allows Kansas law enforcement agencies to take into possession any assets of a person they feel have been used in or gained from criminal activity. Even if a person is acquitted of the crime, the agencies has no obligation under current law to return the assets to the individual and the individual must take the agency holding their assets to court in order to get them back, even if they’re found not guilty or the charges are dropped.
Finney’s bill revises Kansas law and requires law enforcement agencies to give the individual back their property in the same condition as the property was in when it was seized, if the property owner was found not guilty or if the charges are dropped.
HB 2303 Kansas Safe Access Act – Medical Marijuana Finney and 22 other State Representatives are co-sponsors of this medical marijuana bill.
HB 2095 Alpha Kappa Alpha License Plate This bill authorizes a Kansas State Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority License Plate.
HB 2316 Appearance Bonds/Cash Bonds
This bill eliminates cash as an option for bond in municipal court, but in turn relies heavily on an individual submitting their driver’s license as assurance they will appear. The idea is to keep individuals charged with low-level non-violent crimes out of jail simply because they’re too poor to make bond.