Kansas’ Cervid Bill Approved by Senate and House

April 7, 2013

Substitute for Senate Bill 57 Sent to Governor’s Desk

Topeka- This week final approval was given to the Animal Health Bill, Substitute for Senate Bill 57, which revises several cervid statutes.  The final vote of approval was delivered by a unanimous 39-0 vote in the Senate sending the bill to the Governor’s desk.

Substitute for SB 57 was introduced in January by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The bill represents a compromise of several months of work between the Kansas Cervid Breeders Association, Kansas Department of Agriculture, and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism.

The Kansas Cervid Breeders Association retained Travis Lowe as their lobbyist to usher the bill though the process.  After two months of committee hearings and floor debates Sub for SB 57 has been approved by the Senate and House. 

Statute changes in the bill feature cleanup amendments including clarifying enforcement procedures for owners that do not have a license from the state and an inspection process.

The changes ensure all that people that own domestic deer must have a deer permit issued by the state and are subject to KDA regulations.  The changes also offer a defined inspection process and increases penalties for violations. 

Over the past two years the Kansas Department of Agriculture has worked to revise all of the animal health statutes, including cervids. Initially, due to ongoing budget cuts within the department there was speculation of a total, or joint, shift of jurisdiction of the cervid program to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism (KDWPT).  However, after over a dozen meetings between agencies and the cervid breeders the groups were able to agree on language that relieved all concerns. Sub for SB 57 has no change in agency management, which renders the entire cervid program to remain under the Department of Agriculture.  The Kansas cervid program has resided completely under the Department of Agriculture since 1993.

The deliberations of the bill provided opportunity for legislators to learn about the elk and deer industry.  Travis Lowe testified on behalf of the Kansas Cervid Breeders Association during the hearings in the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Agriculture & Natural Resource Committee.  The Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism also testified in support of the bill. 

Substitute for SB 57 should arrive on Governor Brownback’s desk later this month.

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