Legislature leaves park fees, approves new public area

The Kansas legislature ended up not taking $500,000 from state park earnings, according to Chris Tymeson, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism attorney.

In March the House Appropriations Committee recommended taking that much from fees gathered from renting state park cabins. Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, the committee chairman, said they looked into many department funds as a way of coming up with the about $400 million lost to the state budget because of Jan. 1 tax cuts.

The proposal drew the ire of many Kansans, many of whom noted that the state parks had been working hard to become self-sufficient for many years.

The proposal would have taken the $500,000 from money earned from state park cabin rentals.

Also during the recently ended legislative session, according to Tymeson –

– The legislature OKed a Wildlife and Parks purchase of about 800 acres in Jefferson County. It will be used largely as a public hunting area. Federal funds gathered from excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment will pay for most of the about $1.2 million paid for the land.

– Boating under the influence laws have been changed to more closely mirror similar laws for driving automobiles.

– Wildlife and Parks game wardens have been granted to power to help the state agriculture officials when it comes to laws pertaining to domesticated deer.

– Tax rates on boats will gradually be reduced until they are about 1/6th of what Kansans are currently paying.

– Wildlife and Parks can legally issue up to 10 deer permits to “Wounded Warrior” hunters who have had at least 30 percent disability from military-related injuries. The permits will be sold at regular costs, and are for soldiers who sign up for such a hunt after the general state non-resident deer permits have been sold.