Commission Strongly Opposes Two Senate Bills

Riley County Commission 2013Due to the importance of some of the senate bills currently going through the legislative process in Topeka, and the effect they could have on Kansas counties, Riley County Counselor, Clancy Holeman has frequently been updating the county commissioners on the status of these bills.

During Thursday’s Riley County Commission meeting, Holeman shared updates on Senate Bill 109, which is the most concerning to the commission.  Under this bill, public funds would not be able to be used directly, or indirectly, for lobbying.  Holeman said, “lobbying is defined as ‘promoting or opposing in any manor, action or non action by the legislature on any legislative matter, or the adoption or non-adoption of any rule or regulation by any state agency’ “.

If this bill were to go through, it would hinder communication between county officials and state officials.  Elected county officials would no longer be able to travel to Topeka to testify, as Holeman often does.  If the bill passed and an official attempted to contact a government official, they would receive a misdemeanor and possibly jail time.

The commission approved the language in the testimony that was recommended by Holeman.

Another bill of concern is Senate Bill 2285, for the effect it could have on local homeowners and their property taxes.  If the bill passed, for every $100,000 property, taxes would increase by approximately $135.

Holeman recommended a commissioner testify during the public hearing for this bill on Thursday, February 22nd in Topeka.  Commissioner, Robert Boyd volunteered for this task.

The commission also viewed the Kansas Association of Counties Video from last Friday, which reviewed the status on mental health funding and Senate Bill 54.

Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce President, Lyle Butler shared updated on the area’s economic development.  He mentioned that PetSmart will be coming to Manhattan soon, and will be located by Home Depot.

The ground breaking of CivicPlus recently took place, but the process has been set back due to the asbestos found in the facility.  Once that is taken care of, Butler said, the process will resume and move forward.

Butler reported to commissioners, more and more people have made inquiries about businesses on K-18 as the project has went along.  Once the project is through, he expects some great additions to that area.

Other presentations at the meeting included: Planning/Special Projects Director- Monty Wedel with a work session on future growth, County Treasurer-Eileen King with monthly financial reports, and Health Department Director-Susie Kufahl with a staff report.