Changes coming for Kansas Wineries
A bill allowing farm wineries to sell wine on their premises and at special events was referred to the House Federal and State Affairs Committee this Monday, after passing unanimously in the Senate.
During debate, Senators considered whether to lower the current requirement that at least 60% of the products used in the production of wine be grown in Kansas. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that the current requirement should be retained.
Proponents of the bill included the Department of Agriculture, Grace Hill Winery, the Kansas Grape Growers and Winemakers Association, and Wyldewood Cellars Winery, among others.
Fishing & Hunting License Update
On a narrow vote, the Kansas Senate passed a bill last week that will reinstate fishing and hunting license fees on some senior citizens. If signed into law, seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 will no longer be exempt from annual hunting, fishing, or combination pass fees. To obtain a pass, these Kansans will need to purchase a “senior license” at the cost of half of a regular-priced pass.
Discounted “senior passes” will be available through June 2020, when such passes will expire. At this time, anyone between ages 16 and 74 will be required to purchase a pass at full price.
According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the proposal would generate $702,999 in revenue during Fiscal Year 2013. Of this amount, $477,000 would be from actual fees paid for hunting and fishing licenses, and $225,999 would come from the increase in federal matching funds based on the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold.
Senate Expands Dental Care
Specially trained dental hygienists and retired dentists will now be able to perform services up to and including temporary fillings, if a bill passed by the Kansas Senate this week is signed into law. The bill is aimed at improving dental access to underserved Kansans, especially children.
This bill is a step in the right direction, but temporary dental fixes aren’t enough. The children receiving these services need fully-licensed dentists to provide follow-up care and examinations to ensure their long-term dental health.
A lack of dentists accepting Medicaid also continues to be a real concern for rural Kansans. Of Kansas’ 105 counties, 93 counties don’t have enough dentists to serve residents and 28 counties don’t have a single Medicaid dental provider.
These issues need to be addressed next legislative session.