Kansas delays new scale accuracy rules

9/16/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas has delayed imposing new regulations designed to improve the inspections of large scales used to weigh recyclable items, scrap metal and agricultural products as private inspectors and companies mobilize.

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas has delayed imposing new regulations designed to improve the inspections of large scales used to weigh recyclable items, scrap metal and agricultural products as private inspectors and companies mobilize.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the state Department of Agriculture confirmed that it isn't moving forward with regulations it proposed following reports in the newspaper that the state's own checking of scales showed a high percentage of them not complying with standards for accuracy.

The department's Division of Weights and Measures is supposed to ensure the accuracy of 4,000 large scales. The state licenses private companies to inspect scales at least once a year but spot checks a fraction of them. That system was designed by Gov. Sam Brownback when he was state agriculture secretary in 1986, in an effort to boost the number of inspections.

Department officials outlined proposed new regulations in a meeting in June with scale owners.

"The department has pulled back on regulations discussed during the meeting, is currently doing further review and analysis of the Weights and Measures program and will follow the full administration rules and regulations process going forward," department spokeswoman Mary Soukup said.

The process of adopting new regulations takes at least 2 1/2 months. It involves reviews by legislators, the attorney general and the Department of Administration. And it includes a public hearing.

Meanwhile, a coalition of scale inspectors and inspection companies plans to meet Oct. 2 in Salina and recently began soliciting new members.

"It is in the best interest of all companies that we join together to review and provide coordinated comments to the Department," the letter said.

The proposals from Department of Agriculture officials included limiting the number of times scales technicians can retake the state licensing test if they fail, publishing company compliance rates online and formalizing a tiered penalty system that includes fines and suspensions for repeat offenders. A proposal to have scale companies review competitors' installations of new equipment prompted strong criticism from scale owners.

Soukup said department officials "encouraged scale companies to form an industry coalition, and we are pleased to see scale companies working together."

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