Kansas Senate moves on NBAF Money
May 8, 2013

(AP) – A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill authorizing an additional $202 million in bonds for a national biodefense lab after adding limits designed to address some conservative Republicans’ concerns.

The Ways and Means Committee’s voice vote Wednesday sends the measure to the full Senate for debate, possibly as early as Friday.

Kansas has authorized $105 million in bonds for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has said the new bonds are necessary to fulfill the state’s promise to cover part of the construction costs.

The $1.2 billion facility will research dangerous animal diseases.

Some conservative GOP senators questioned authorizing new bonds. The bill says they can’t be issued until the federal government signs a contract with a construction contractor.

NBAF Plant Gets Late Look in Topeka
April 26, 2013

(AP) – A Kansas Senate committee has introduced a bill authorizing an additional $202 million in bonds to help finance construction of a federal biosecurity lab in Manhattan.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee scheduled a hearing on the proposal Thursday. The full Legislature reconvenes May 8 to wrap up the year’s business.

President Barack Obama’s proposed federal budget includes $714 million to build the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University. The installation would replace an aging lab on Plum Island, N.Y.

The project’s total cost is $1.15 billion, and Kansas already has issued $105 million in bonds to help finance the construction of a central utility plant to serve the laboratory.

The lab will study animal diseases and develop measures to protect the nation’s food supply.

Kansas NBAF Project Makes Obama’s Budget
April 10, 2013

(AP) – Efforts to build a new biosecurity lab in Kansas are getting a huge boost, as President Barack Obama sends Congress a budget proposal that includes $714 million for construction of the facility at Kansas State University.
That would be the largest proposed federal expenditure for the project to date.
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says Wednesday that the recommendation signals the administration’s support for building the $1.15 billion lab, which will study large animal diseases and develop measures to protect the nation’s food supply.
The Department of Homeland Security will build the lab to replace a facility at Plum Island, N.Y.
Roberts, a Republican, says the proposal will require additional financial commitments from Kansas, which will be worked out by Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators.

K-State’s NBAF Facility Survives Review, But Scale Back Likely
July 13, 2012

(AP) – A government-backed research panel says the Department of Homeland Security should continue with its plans for a biosecurity lab in Kansas but consider ways to reduce costs.

A study released by National Research Council on Friday says the need for the $1.14 billion National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan hasn’t diminished since the project was first conceived.

But the council says Homeland Security has options: It could continue with the current plan, reduce the size and scope of the project and distribute its work among research centers around the country.

Homeland Security asked the council to review the risks of studying animal diseases at the lab, the capabilities needed to address those threats and analyze three options. One included keeping the current research at Plum Island, N.Y.

Huelskamp Tensions With Boehner May threaten NBAF Money
April 23, 2012

Wichita Eagle via KC Star:
A split between Kansas’ U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is complicating efforts to redraw the state’s congressional districts to ensure the new map doesn’t threaten funding for a federal bioterrorism lab in Manhattan, the president of the state Senate said Friday.

A spokeswoman for Huelskamp said there is no split with the speaker that would threaten the funding for the lab.

Kansas Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, told a Wichita Republican club that the Legislature will have to keep Manhattan in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District, rather than including it in Huelskamp’s sprawling western-Kansas 1st District.

He said conflict between Huelskamp and Boehner could threaten efforts to get funding for the National Bio and Agro -Defense Facility, also known as NBAF. The $650 million national laboratory has been planned as a center to research and counter possible biological terrorism directed against the nation’s food supply.

“Not to get into too many details, there’s a pretty good-sized conflict between the U.S. speaker of the House and our congressman from the 1st District,” Morris told the Wichita Pachyderm Club. “He’s (Huelskamp) told people that if Manhattan and Riley County stay in the 1st District (as was proposed in some early redistricting maps), funding could be a problem for NBAF. That’s out there, so we’re dealing with that.”

Construction of the lab on property near Kansas State University was scheduled for this year, but it’s on hold because its $50 million funding was reduced to $10 million in President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal. The administration has directed the Department of Homeland Security to re-evaluate the project.

Asked by a Pachyderm member to elaborate on problems between Boehner and Huelskamp, Morris said, “Well, I don’t know how much I should say.

“There’s a major conflict between the speaker and the congressman and I think his thought is if Manhattan’s represented by that congressman, funding will not show up. That’s sort of the bottom line.”

Huelskamp spokeswoman Karen Steward said Huelskamp “has an open dialogue with the speaker and the rest of House leadership.”