Topeka A legislative committee plans to hold a hearing on a measure that urges the Environmental Protection Agency to allow current grass burning practices in the Flint Hills.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 1623 is scheduled for consideration Friday before the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
The resolution states “Because of the uniqueness of the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie and the historic manner in which the tallgrass prairie has been managed by fire, existing prescribed burn practices should be allowed to continue without a federally prescribed smoke management plan.”
Annual burning of pastures during the springtime is a common occurrence in the Flint Hills.
But the burning has produced haze and pollution problems as smoke from the fires drifts northeast to the Kansas City-area, which has been struggling with ozone limits set by the EPA.
Some have suggested limiting the size of fires and setting them over a longer period of time. But ranchers say weather and grass conditions are suitable for burning only for a couple of weeks each year.
The Kansas chapter of the NAACP has announced its opposition to a proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at blocking federal health care reforms that are under consideration.
“At a time when more than 300,000 Kansans are without health insurance, this amendment, which seeks to obstruct necessary reform measures and protects the practice of insurance companies discriminating against consumers, is wrong for our state and our nation,” said Kevin Myles, President of the Kansas State Conference of the NAACP.
The proposed amendment declares that no individual or business can be required to purchase health insurance or participate in a particular health care system. Supporters of the measure say it is needed to thwart mandates that are being considered in health care proposals before Congress. They say it is unconstitutional for the federal government to make this mandate.
The measure has been forwarded to the full Senate by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. A proposed constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate before being placed on the ballot for voters to decide.
In the Senate, the measure has been sponsored by 16 Republicans. A similar proposal in the House has been sponsored by 43 Republcans.
Myles said the amendment is “shamefully partisan.” The NAACP plans to hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss its opposition to the measure.