State Legislative

State Legislative Platform (PDF)

State and city governments should work together to provide citizens with the government services they require. As the branch of government closest to the citizens, the City of Lenexa understands the needs of its residents and businesses and is therefore best equipped to respond to them efficiently and effectively.

The City of Lenexa supports the following positions and advocates for them on behalf of those who live and work in our community.

Home Rule and Local Control

  • Supports the constitutional right of cities to exercise their Home Rule authority to maintain control and authority over matters of local concern.
  • Opposes expansion of current bi-state taxing legislation (K.S.A. 12-2536 et seq.) or the passage of new legislation creating similar taxing initiatives.
  • Supports the right of cities to responsibly use eminent domain for all public purposes, including economic development.
  • Supports the authority of cities to manage employee/employer relations.
  • Opposes legislation expanding initiative and referendum.
  • Supports a city’s right, whether by the voices of elected officials or professional staff, to represent its citizens and participate in the legislative process through advocacy and education on issues affecting cities.
  • Opposes legislative changes to the structure, nature, or schedule of city elections.

Taxation, Finance and Spending

  • Opposes the imposition of taxing and/or spending limits on cities.
  • Supports full State funding of the Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction legislation (LAVTR).
  • Opposes further exemptions to the local ad valorem property tax base, limitations to the state/local sales tax base, new tax policies reducing available funding for key programs, policies creating a competitive disadvantage with other states, and/or imposing a sales tax on professional services.
  • Supports legislation extending the timetable by which cities are required to submit their annual budget.
  • Supports legislation protecting the rights of cities to manage the use of the public right of way and to secure fair compensation for such city services.

Mandates and Funding

  • Opposes unfunded mandates on cities.
  • Supports adequate funding of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS).
  • Supports separate accounting for each city’s KPERS funds from the state pool based on new GASB requirements.
  • Supports continued funding of the current comprehensive transportation program known as “T-WORKS” and advocates for the establishment of a dedicated funding source to support the long-term transportation needs of cities and the State.

Public Safety

  • Supports the distribution of public safety funds to cities to fund local public safety programs for the purpose of ensuring the necessary resources to prevent and combat crime and terrorism.
  • Supports the current racial profiling law.
  • Supports legislation allowing cities to use technology to enhance and improve public safety.

Education and Environment

  • Supports appropriate public education funding to allow students to compete for employment in the global economy.
  • Supports development of a statewide water plan addressing water quality and sustainability.

Position Justification

 

Home Rule and Local Control

The City of Lenexa supports the constitutional right of cities to exercise their Home Rule authority to maintain control and authority over matters of local concern.

  • Home Rule authority was granted to cities in 1960 by the Kansas Constitution and is essential for responsible and effective local government. Due to their proximity to the citizens, locally-elected officials are in the best position to make decisions of community concern and are most accountable for those decisions.

The City of Lenexa opposes expansion of current bi-state taxing legislation (K.S.A. 12-2356 et seq.) or the passage of new legislation creating similar taxing initiatives.

  • The foundation of Home Rule authority relies on the principle of local control over taxation and local affairs. Enacting bi-state legislation creates an undue burden on taxpayers who may not realize benefits from the levying of such a tax.

The City of Lenexa supports the right of municipalities to responsibly use eminent domain for all public purposes, including economic development.

  • Responsible use of eminent domain is essential to the creation of quality public places. Appropriate use of this tool can assist in cultivating economic activity while removing blight from our communities.

The City of Lenexa supports the authority of cities to manage employee/employer relations.

  • Collective bargaining and employee/employer relations are best handled by the city directly impacted by such negotiations which allows cities to address situations unique to each community.

The City of Lenexa opposes legislation expanding initiative and referendum.

  • The Kansas Constitution provides for representative government enabling citizens to elect officials to act on their behalf through an open and deliberative process. Various statutes provide for initiative and referendum in specific situations but to expand this process circumvents governance by the majority and may force costly, single issues elections.

The City of Lenexa supports a city’s right, whether by the voices of elected officials or professional staff, to represent its citizens in the legislative process through advocacy and education on issues affecting cities.

  • Representative government is one of the founding principles upon which our nation is based. Locally elected officials and their professional staff should retain their constitutional right to participate in the legislative process. Furthermore, the City opposes legislation that would limit its constitutional right of association to participate as members of any organization deemed valuable for education and advancement of issues important to the community.

The City of Lenexa opposes legislative changes to the structure, nature, or schedule of municipal elections.

Kansas has a long history of non-partisan municipal elections held in the spring. The current system allows a focus on city issues rather than introducing confusion with state and national elections. We support the current schedule and structure of local elections and oppose legislation that would require partisan identification in local elections.

 

Taxation, Finance and Spending

The City of Lenexa opposes the imposition of taxing and/or spending limits on cities.

  • The imposition of taxing or spending limits on local governments is contrary to the spirit and effectiveness of our system of representative government and contrary to Home Rule.

The City of Lenexa supports full funding of the Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction legislation (LAVTR).

  • Consistent with the intent of the original legislation establishing the LAVTR Fund, the City supports full State funding in accordance with K.S.A. 79-2925 thereby reducing city reliance on the property tax to fund local government programs and services.

The City of Lenexa opposes further exemptions to the local ad valorem property tax base, limitations to the state/local sales tax base, new tax policies reducing available funding for key programs, policies creating a competitive disadvantage with other states, and/or imposing a sales tax on professional services.

  • The City supports a balanced tax strategy spreading responsibility for programs and services across a broad tax base helping attract business investment and allowing communities to remain economically competitive. Further modification of the tax base or elimination of tax sources merely shifts the tax burden to the remaining taxpayers.

The City of Lenexa supports legislation extending the time table by which cities are required to submit their annual budget.

  • Legislation extending the statutory timetable for municipal budget preparation, publication, hearing, adoption, and certification by at least 30 days ensures more accurate revenue information is available for local officials to make crucial funding decisions.

The City of Lenexa supports legislation protecting the rights of cities to manage the use of the public right of way and to secure fair compensation for such city services.

  • Managing the public right of way is best performed at the local level as it allows cities to coordinate the placement of utilities, maximize the efficient and safe use of the public right of way, and minimize disruption to the public. The City recognizes the value to its businesses and residents of allowing private sector service providers to utilize the public right of way to gain access to their customers Coordination and management of the right of way is important and cities should be fairly and justly compensated through franchise and permit fees for such services.

 

Mandates and Funding

The City of Lenexa opposes unfunded mandates on cities.

  • Unfunded State mandates are contrary to the concept of constitutional Home Rule and unfairly burden local government. Whenever the Legislature requires cities to perform certain actions or to implement State programs but fails to provide the associated funding therewith, such unfunded mandates create unmanageable expectations and financial obligations on cities.

The City of Lenexa supports adequate funding of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS).

  • Funding KPERS is the fiduciary responsibility of all participating employers to their respective employees who have contributed to the system and the State should fully fund its obligation.

The City of Lenexa supports separate accounting for each city’s KPERS funds from the state pool based on new GASB requirements.

  • In 2014, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) will require that cities identify their unfunded pension liability as reported by KPERS. Separation of each city’s KPERS funds from the state pool will allow each city to address its unfunded KPERS obligation through the normal budget process. This action will more accurately reflect the unfunded liability of the State and assist the Legislature in addressing an appropriate strategy to fund its KPERS liability.

The City of Lenexa supports continued funding of the current comprehensive transportation program known as “T- WORKS” and advocates for the establishment of dedicated funding source to support the long-term transportation needs of cities and the State.

  • Superior-quality transportation infrastructure is crucial to the competitive advantage Kansas cities have over those in neighboring states. Reallocation of the current funding supporting the T-WORKS program is detrimental to the economic development interests of Kansas. To ensure that Kansas remains competitive in key areas, the City encourages the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to give projects that yield additional tax revenue the highest consideration in developing statewide program priorities. The program's current funding mechanism is unsustainable and a new, long-term source must be identified.

 

Public Safety

The City of Lenexa supports the distribution of public safety funds to cities to fund local public safety programs for the purpose of ensuring the necessary resources to prevent and combat crime and terrorism.

  • Local public safety personnel are the first to respond to crime and acts of terrorism, and are often at the forefront of preventing such circumstances. Funding should be allocated in a manner that allows local professionals to appropriately protect their communities.

The City of Lenexa supports the current racial profiling law.

  • The City supports the current racial profiling law with the practice of having investigations handled by the Kansas commission on peace officers standards and training upon referral by the Kansas Attorney General. The City opposes any amendments to mandate data collection.

The City of Lenexa supports legislation allowing cities to use technology to enhance and improve public safety.

  • Innovative and new technologies allow cities to better manage budgets and improve public safety services to its citizens. The City opposes legislation that would limit or prohibit its use of technology.

 

Education and Environment

The City of Lenexa supports appropriate public education funding to allow students to compete in the global economy.

  • Public education is essential to keeping our local economies and communities strong. Appropriately funded schools are a cornerstone of economic development as they prepare youth to enter the workforce, start new businesses, and provide for future tax revenues.

The City of Lenexa supports the development of a statewide strategy for water quality and quantity planning and sustainability.

  • Water is a precious resource. A comprehensive statewide water conservation strategy, created in partnership with Kansas communities, is needed to ensure a sustainable and quality water supply is available for future generations.