Session of 2021
SENATE BILL No. 40
By Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources
1-21

1 AN ACT concerning agriculture; relating to the Kansas department of
2 agriculture division of conservation; implementing the provisions of
3 2011 executive reorganization order No. 40; amending K.S.A. 2-1916,
4 49-605, 49-611, 49-613, 49-618, 49-620, 49-623, 82a-1602, 82a-1603,
5 82a-1607 and 82a-1702 and K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 2-1903, 2-1904, 2-
6 1907, 2-1907c, 2-1908, 2-1915, 2-1930, 2-1931, 2-1933, 49-603, 49-
7 606 and 49-621 and repealing the existing sections; also repealing
8 K.S.A. 49-619.
9
10 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
11 Section 1. K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 2-1903 is hereby amended to read as
12 follows: 2-1903. As used in this act:
13 (1) "District" or "conservation district" means a governmental
14 subdivision of this state, and a public body corporate and politic, organized
15 in accordance with the provisions of this act, for the purposes, with the
16 powers, and subject to the restrictions hereinafter set forth.
17 (2) "Supervisor" means one of the members of the governing body of
18 a district, elected or appointed in accordance with the provisions of this
19 act.
20 (3) "Commission" or "state conservation commission" means the
21 conservation program policy board created in K.S.A. 2-1904, and
22 amendments thereto, including the state conservation commission
23 continued in existence by K.S.A. 75-5,128, and amendments thereto.
24 (4) "State" means the state of Kansas.
25 (5) "Agency of this state" includes the government of this state and
26 any subdivision, agency or instrumentality, corporation or otherwise, of
27 the government of this state.
28 (6) "United States" or "agencies of the United States" includes the
29 United States of America, the soil natural resources conservation service
30 of the United States department of agriculture and any other agency or
31 instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of the United States of America.
32 (7) "Government" or "governmental" includes the government of this
33 state, the government of the United States and any subdivision, agency or
34 instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of either of them.
35 (8) "Division" or "division of conservation" means the agency
36 division of conservation established within the Kansas department of
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1 agriculture in K.S.A. 74-5,126, and amendments thereto.
2 (9) "Director" means the executive director of the division.
3 (10) "Invasive plant species" means a species of plant not native to
4 Kansas whose introduction, presence or spread does or is likely to cause
5 economic harm, environmental harm or harm to human health.
6 (11) "Secretary" means the secretary of the Kansas department of
7 agriculture.
8 Sec. 2. K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 2-1904 is hereby amended to read as
9 follows: 2-1904. (a) There is hereby established, to serve as a conservation
10 program policy board of the state and to perform the functions conferred
11 upon it in this act, the state conservation commission. The state
12 conservation commission shall succeed to all the powers, duties and
13 property of the state soil conservation committee. The commission shall
14 consist of nine members as follows:
15 (1) The director of the cooperative extension service and the director
16 of the state agricultural experiment station dean of the Kansas state
17 university college of agriculture located at Manhattan, Kansas, or such
18 persons' designees shall serve, ex officio, as shall appoint two designees to
19 serve on the commission as members of the commission. One designee
20 shall represent an agricultural experiment station and one shall represent
21 the cooperative extension service.
22 (2) The commission secretary shall request the secretary of
23 agriculture of the United States of America to appoint one person, and the
24 secretary of the Kansas department of agriculture to shall appoint one
25 person, each of whom shall be residents of the state of Kansas to serve as
26 members of the commission. These members shall hold office for four
27 years and until a successor is appointed and qualifies, with terms
28 commencing on the second Monday in January beginning in 1973.
29 (3) Five members of the state commission shall be elected by the
30 conservation district supervisors at a time and place to be designated by
31 the state conservation commission. The method of electing such members
32 to be conducted as follows: The state is to be divided into five separate
33 areas. Area No. I to include the following counties: Cheyenne, Rawlins,
34 Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Osborne, Rooks, Graham, Sheridan,
35 Thomas, Sherman, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Trego, Ellis and Russell. Area
36 No. II to include: Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Ness, Rush, Pawnee,
37 Hodgeman, Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Edwards, Ford, Gray, Haskell,
38 Grant, Stanton, Morton, Stevens, Seward, Meade, Clark, Comanche and
39 Kiowa. Area No. III to include: Jewell, Republic, Mitchell, Cloud,
40 Lincoln, Ottawa, Ellsworth, Saline, Rice, McPherson, Reno, Harvey,
41 Kingman, Sedgwick, Sumner, Harper, Barber, Pratt, Barton and Stafford.
42 Area No. IV to include: Washington, Marshall, Nemaha, Brown,
43 Doniphan, Clay, Riley, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Atchison, Jefferson,
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1 Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Geary,
2 Dickinson, Morris, Osage, Franklin and Miami. Area No. V to include:
3 Marion, Chase, Lyon, Coffey, Anderson, Linn, Bourbon, Allen, Woodson,
4 Greenwood, Butler, Elk, Wilson, Neosho, Crawford, Cowley, Chautauqua,
5 Montgomery, Labette and Cherokee. Areas II and IV will shall elect
6 members in even number even-numbered years and Areas I, III and V shall
7 elect members in odd number odd-numbered years for two year two-year
8 terms. The elected commission members from Areas I, III and V shall take
9 office on January 1, of the even number even-numbered years. The
10 remaining two elected members of the state commission from Areas II and
11 IV shall take office on January 1, of the odd number odd-numbered years.
12 The method of election is to be by area caucus of the district supervisors of
13 each of the five separate areas of Kansas. The commission shall give each
14 district notice of the time and place of such annual election meeting by
15 letter if a member is to be elected to the commission from that area that
16 year. The selection of a successor to fill an unexpired term shall be by
17 appointment by the commission. The successor who is appointed to fill the
18 unexpired term shall be a resident of the same area as that of the
19 predecessor.
20 (b) The commission shall keep a record of its official actions, and
21 shall adopt a seal which seal shall be judicially noticed, and may perform
22 such acts, hold such public hearings and adopt review all rules and
23 regulations proposed by the division that are necessary for the execution of
24 its the division's functions under this act.
25 (c) In addition to the powers and duties conferred in this section, the
26 state conservation commission shall have the powers and duties not
27 delegated to the Kansas department of agriculture division of conservation
28 pursuant to K.S.A. 74-5,126, and amendments thereto.
29 (d) The commission shall designate its chairperson and, from time to
30 time, may change such designation. A majority of the commission shall
31 constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of a majority in any matter
32 within their duties shall be required for its determination. Members of the
33 state conservation commission attending meetings of such commission or
34 attending a subcommittee meeting thereof authorized by such commission
35 shall be paid compensation, subsistence allowances, mileage and other
36 expenses as provided in K.S.A. 75-3223, and amendments thereto. The
37 commission shall provide for keeping of a full and accurate record of all
38 proceedings and of all resolutions, rules and regulations and orders issued
39 or adopted.
40 (e) The state conservation commission together with the Kansas
41 department of agriculture division of conservation shall make conservation
42 program policy decisions to be approved by the secretary, including
43 modification of current conservation programs, creation of new
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1 conservation programs and annual budget recommendations.
2 (f) The Kansas department of agriculture division of conservation in
3 consultation with the state conservation commission shall have the
4 following duties and powers:
5 (1) To offer such assistance as may be appropriate to the supervisors
6 of conservation districts, organized as provided hereinafter, in the carrying
7 out of any of their powers and programs;
8 (2) to keep the supervisors of each of the several districts organized
9 under the provisions of this act informed of the activities and experience of
10 all other districts organized hereunder and to facilitate an interchange of
11 advice and experience between such districts and cooperation between
12 them;
13 (3) to coordinate the programs of the several conservation districts
14 organized hereunder;
15 (4) to secure the cooperation and assistance of the United States and
16 any of its agencies and of agencies of this state, in the work of such
17 districts and to contract with or to accept donations, grants, gifts and
18 contributions in money, services or otherwise from the United States or
19 any of its agencies or from the state or any of its agencies in order to carry
20 out the purposes of this act;
21 (5) to disseminate information throughout the state concerning the
22 activities and programs of the conservation districts organized hereunder
23 and to encourage the formation of such districts in areas where their
24 organization is desirable;
25 (6) to cooperate with and give assistance to watershed districts and
26 other special purpose districts in the state of Kansas for the purpose of
27 cooperating with the United States through the secretary of agriculture in
28 the furtherance of conservation pursuant to the provisions of the watershed
29 protection and flood prevention act, as amended;
30 (7) to cooperate in and carry out, in accordance with state policies,
31 activities and programs to conserve and develop the water resources of the
32 state and maintain and improve the quality of such water resources;
33 (8) to enlist the cooperation and collaboration of state, federal,
34 regional, interstate, local, public and private agencies with the
35 conservation districts;
36 (9) to facilitate arrangements under which conservation districts may
37 serve county governing bodies and other agencies as their local operating
38 agencies in the administration of any activity concerned with the
39 conservation of natural resources; and
40 (10) to take such actions as are necessary to restore, establish,
41 enhance and protect natural resources with conservation easements for the
42 purpose of compensatory mitigation required under section 404 of the
43 federal clean water act, including:
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1 (A) Accepting, purchasing or otherwise acquiring conservation
2 easements, as defined in K.S.A. 58-3810, and amendments thereto, on
3 behalf of watershed districts for the purpose of protecting compensatory
4 mitigation sites;
5 (B) contracting with engineering consultants, surveyors and
6 construction contractors for the purpose of restoration, establishment and
7 enhancement of natural resources; and
8 (C) establishing fees for the acquisition and administration of
9 conservation easements held on behalf of watershed districts, accepting
10 such fees from state and local government agencies, and assuming
11 responsibility to ensure the terms of the conservation easement are met, as
12 approved by the department, for the length of term of the easement for
13 which fees have been accepted.
14 (g) There is hereby established in the state treasury the compensatory
15 mitigation fund, which shall to be administered by the department of
16 agriculture. All expenditures from the compensatory mitigation fund shall
17 be for conservation. All expenditures from the compensatory mitigation
18 fund shall be made in accordance with appropriation acts upon warrants of
19 the director of accounts and reports issued pursuant to vouchers approved
20 by the secretary of agriculture or the designee of the secretary. The
21 secretary of agriculture shall remit all moneys received by or for the
22 secretary under this section to the state treasurer in accordance with the
23 provisions of K.S.A. 75-4215, and amendments thereto. Upon each such
24 remittance, the state treasurer shall deposit the entire amount in the state
25 treasury to the credit of the compensatory mitigation fund.
26 (h) All costs associated with compensatory mitigation, including, but
27 not limited to, the costs of any litigation or civil fines or penalties, shall be
28 paid by the watershed district for which the Kansas department of
29 agriculture division of conservation holds the conservation easement.
30 (i) (1) Except as provided in subsection (i) paragraph (2), the Kansas
31 department of agriculture shall not expend moneys appropriated from the
32 state general fund or from any special revenue fund or funds for the
33 purpose of accepting, purchasing or otherwise acquiring conservation
34 easements on behalf of watershed districts.
35 (2) The Kansas department of agriculture may expend moneys in the
36 compensatory mitigation fund established by this section for the purpose
37 of accepting, purchasing or otherwise acquiring conservation easements on
38 behalf of watershed districts and for the administration of such
39 conservation easements.
40 (j) The Kansas department of agriculture division of conservation
41 shall not accept, purchase or otherwise acquire any conservation easement
42 other than for the purposes of this section.
43 Sec. 3. K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 2-1907 is hereby amended to read as
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1 follows: 2-1907. The governing body of the district shall consist of five
2 supervisors who are qualified electors residing within the district. The
3 supervisors who are first elected shall serve for terms of one, two and three
4 years according to the following plan: The two persons receiving the
5 highest number of votes in the election shall hold office for three years; the
6 two persons receiving the next highest number of votes shall hold such
7 office for a term of two years; and the remaining supervisor shall hold
8 office for a term of one year. In the event of a tie vote, such terms shall be
9 decided by lot. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the
10 length of the term of supervisors holding office on January 1, 1995.
11 Successors to such persons shall be elected for terms of three years. An
12 annual meeting of all qualified electors of the district shall be held in the
13 month of January or February. Notice of the time and place of such
14 meeting shall be given by such supervisors by publishing a notice in the
15 official county paper once each week for two consecutive weeks prior to
16 the week in which such meeting is to be held. At such meeting the
17 supervisors shall make full and due report of their activities and financial
18 affairs since the last annual meeting and shall conduct an election by secret
19 ballot of all of the qualified electors of the district there present for the
20 election of supervisors whose terms have expired. Whenever a vacancy
21 occurs in the membership of the governing body the remaining supervisors
22 of the district shall appoint a qualified elector of the district to fill the
23 office for the unexpired term. The supervisors shall designate a
24 chairperson and may from time to time change such designation. A
25 supervisor shall hold office until a successor has been elected or appointed
26 and has qualified. A majority of the supervisors shall constitute a quorum
27 and the concurrence of a majority of the supervisors in any matter within
28 their duties shall be required for its determination. A supervisor shall
29 receive no compensation for services, but may be entitled to expenses,
30 including traveling expenses, necessarily incurred in the discharge of
31 duties. The supervisors may employ a secretary, technical experts, and
32 such other officers, agents, and employees, permanent and temporary, as
33 they may require, and shall determine their qualifications, duties and
34 compensation. The supervisors may call upon the county attorney of the
35 county in which a major portion of the district lies, or the attorney general
36 for such legal services as they may require. The supervisors may delegate
37 to their chairperson, to one or more supervisors, or to one or more agents,
38 or employees such powers and duties as they may deem proper. The
39 supervisors shall furnish to the Kansas department of agriculture division
40 of conservation, upon request, copies of such rules, regulations, orders,
41 contracts, forms, and other documents as they shall adopt or employ, and
42 such other information concerning their activities as it may require in the
43 performance of its duties under this act. The supervisors shall provide for
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1 the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who shall be
2