The Kansas Senate affirmed legislation sought by law enforcement and utility companies Wednesday to compel scrap-yard dealers to submit information to a Kansas Bureau of Investigation database about people selling steel, copper, aluminum and other metals.
Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, objected to the bill passed 35-4 mandating scrap dealers identify individuals selling those businesses precious metals. She said the proposal requiring information to be submitted to a KBI database was an unfair burden on small businesses.
"These people are out there working for a living," Tyson said. "We're making the business owner the police. I'm just asking for common sense here."
The Senate rejected her attempt to replace the database with a requirement dealers refer to a list of known stolen property before each metal purchase.
Senate Bill 219 had already been diluted by removing criminal background checks and fingerprinting of dealers registering with the state. Dealer registration and renewal fees would be capped at $500 annually rather than $1,500. It also transferred responsibility for operation of the database from the attorney general's office to the KBI.
Cox Communications, headquartered in Wichita, supported the bill while arguing a functional database could assist investigations of metal theft. A coalition of Kansas law enforcement associations also embraced the reform.
In other action:
• The Republican-led Senate also delivered unanimous approval for House Bill 2167 to allow development in Kansas of a commercial hemp production program.
"This, I think, will give farmers an invaluable tool ... for economic development," said Sen. John Doll, a Garden City independent.
• Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously adopted Senate Bill 104 requiring paid tax preparers to sign tax returns of their clients. The bill was amended to include a break for elder Kansans by freezing property taxes of people 65 or older who own a residence valued at less than $350,000 and with a household income under $50,000 annually.
• The Senate approved without dissent expansion of "Seldon's Law" to include ordained ministers of religion among mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect.
• The Senate passed Senate Bill 108 introduced by Sen. Eric Rucker, R-Topeka, to require a presumptive prison sentence for people convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a child under age 6.