The Kansas Senate has approved a plan to increase the state’s funding for a federal research lab to be built in Manhattan. The bill would authorize the state to issue $200 million more in bonds for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, known as NBAF. Officials have supported the lab because it promises to provide more than 300 high-paying jobs to the area. But Senator Jeff Melcher, a Republican from Leawood, said he has not seen enough justification for the higher cost to the state.
The lab will study diseases that could threaten the nation’s agriculture industry. The bill says the state will only issue the new bonds if the federal government pays its share of the more than $1 billion construction cost. The 32-8 vote sends the bill to the House, which is already considering similar legislation.