Updated: House takes step to speed relief bill for fire victims

Mar 14, 2017

Credit KCUR

TOPEKA – The Kansas House of Representatives conducted its 11 a.m. session Monday and then recessed until 4:45 p.m. That is intentionally aimed at speeding up procedures for House Bill 2387, which contains sales tax relief for those recovering from the wildfires.

"We want to fast track that bill," House Majority Leader Don Hineman, R-Dighton said.

Introduced Friday, the legislation would grant a sales tax exemption for certain purchases, including the purchase of materials or services in 2017 and 2018 for repairing, rebuilding or replacing any residence, utility pole owned by a rural electric cooperative or fence used to enclose land for agricultural use that was damaged or destroyed by wildfires in 2017. A hearing in the House Taxation Committee is scheduled for Monday afternoon, and the committee is expected to send it the full House.

The House vote would not take place Monday, but the brief late-afternoon meeting of the House Monday effectively would shave a day off the process of moving the bill. The Senate would have to act on the legislation, too, before it reaches the Governor's desk.

Last year, the Legislature passed legislation to help farmers and ranchers in south-central Kansas rebuild fences destroyed by wildfires. The sales tax exemption came in the form of rebates. 

The current bill would expand aid beyond ranchers and farmers rebuilding fences to homeowners and rural electric cooperatives. There is talk of possibly changing the tax break to an upfront exemption instead of a rebate.