Pipeline Trespass Bill Signed

A bill signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly will make it a misdemeanor to trespass near oil and gas pipelines.

The bill Kelly signed gained bipartisan support in the state Senate, but drew criticism from some House Democrats, including two Native American legislators who said the bill targets Native American protestors like those who opposed the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the subject of months of sometimes-violent protests in 2016 and 2017.

The new law goes into effect on July 1st.

The legislation makes it a misdemeanor to trespass near oil and gas, rubber manufacturing, and wastewater treatment facilities.

It would also make it a felony to trespass with the intent to damage them.

It is already a felony in Kansas to damage oil and gas pipelines.

In addition to pipelines, the bill also defines railroad tracks as a critical infrastructure, and makes it a felony to trespass to obstruct them.