State Legislative

State Legislative Platform (PDF)

State and municipal governments work together to provide citizens with many services they require and have come to expect. As the local branch of government, we understand the needs of our citizens and are equipped to respond to them effectively and efficiently. While we respect the State government’s role, we continue to advocate for the protection of home rule authority to ensure the needs of our citizens are met. We favor decisions being made at the local level. We support the following positions and advocate for them on behalf of those who live and work in our community.

Home Rule and Local Control

  • We support the full control of and authority over matters which are granted to municipalities by the Kansas Constitution.
  • We support the current framework for local elections.
  • We support current law pertaining to referenda and ballot initiatives and oppose any expansion of the provisions therein which may prove costly to taxpayers.
  • We support the right of municipalities to responsibly use eminent domain for all public purposes, including for economic development.
  • We support the authority of municipalities to manage employee/employer relations.

Taxation, Finance and Spending

  • We support current law which does not impose taxation or spending limits on local units of government.
  • We oppose balancing the state budget in ways that reduce funding for local units of government.
  • We oppose any further exemptions to the local ad valorem property tax or the state/local sales tax base, or any taxation policies which would, 1.) reduce available funding for key programs, 2.) put municipalities at a competitive disadvantage with those in neighboring states, or 3.) levy a sales tax on professional services.
  • We support the State’s continued participation in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.
  • We support legislation which permits local governments to delay the submission of their annual budget to October 15th, with maximum levies to be published in August as they are currently.

Mandates and Funding

  • We support full and continuous funding for programs, projects, or activities the State imposes upon local units of government.
  • We support continued funding of the current comprehensive transportation program known as “T-WORKS.”
  • We support the establishment of long-term, dedicated funding sources which support transportation improvements.
  • We support adequate funding of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) and separation of local units of government from the State and school retirement systems.

Public Safety

  • We support fully funding public safety initiatives and programs and believe that authority for making crucial public safety funding decisions should reside at the local level.
  • We support H.B. No. 2007, an act concerning law enforcement; creating a law enforcement mutual aid region for critical incidents.
  • We support current laws against racial profiling and oppose any changes which would negatively impact the relationship between law enforcement personnel and the communities they serve.
  • We support legislation allowing cities to use technology to counterbalance the need for more staff, promote public safety, reduce accidents, and solve crimes.

Education and Environment

  • We support funding public education in a manner which ensures students will be able to compete in the global economy.
  • We support the efforts of the Governor’s 50-Year Water Vision for water quality/quantity planning and sustainability.

 

Position Justification

Home Rule and Local Control

We support the full control of and authority over those matters which are constitutionally-granted to municipalities.

  • Constitutionally-granted home rule authority is essential to responsible and effective local government. Due to their proximity to the community, locally-elected officials are in the best position to make decisions of community concern and are most accountable for those decisions.

We support the current framework of local elections.

  • Kansas has a proud and effective history of nonpartisan local elections being contested in the spring. Keeping the current schedule and structure of nonpartisan local elections allows voters to come together as a community to focus on and address issues of local importance.

We support current law pertaining to referenda and ballot initiatives and oppose any expansion of the provisions therein which may prove costly to taxpayers.

  • Expanding referenda and/or ballot initiative provisions may allow a relatively small number of petitioners to force frequent and expensive public elections on state and local government. While we support the public’s constitutional right to petition their government, expanding current law may prove costly to taxpayers with little benefit.

We support 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. Additionally, careful use of this tool can assist in cultivating economic activity while removing blight from our communities.

We support the authority of municipalities to manage employee/employer relations.

  • Collective bargaining processes and decisions are better handled at the local level. The unique relationship between local officials and local government professionals requires a unique approach to employee/employer relations.

Taxation, Finance and Spending

We support current law which does not impose taxation or spending limits on local units of government.

  • The burden of taxing or spending limits on local governments is contrary to the spirit and effectiveness of our system of representative government. The sovereignty of Kansas voters should be preserved by keeping taxing and spending authority for local matters at the local level.

We oppose balancing the state budget in ways that reduce funding for local units of government.

  • Reducing or eliminating available funds and revenue streams local governments are dependent upon may be detrimental to Kansas communities. Reduction or elimination of these funding sources may diminish the capacity for municipalities to deliver the services our citizens enjoy and have come to expect.

We oppose any further exemptions to the local ad valorem property tax or the state/local sales tax base, or any taxation policies which would, 1.) reduce available funding for key programs, 2.) put municipalities at a competitive disadvantage with those in neighboring states, or 3.) levy a sales tax on professional services.                                                           

  • Kansas municipalities strive to provide the quality services citizens expect. Any modifications or new exemptions would be detrimental to any competitive advantage Kansas municipalities have over those in neighboring states due to the reliance on an increasingly narrower tax base.

We support the State’s continued participation in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA).

  • Since 2005, Kansas has participated along with 24 other member states in an initiative to minimize the costs and administrative burdens on retailers that collect sales tax, particularly retailers operating in multiple states. The SSUTA encourages "remote sellers" selling over the Internet and by mail order to collect tax on sales to customers living in the streamlined states. It levels the playing field so that local brick-and-mortar businesses and remote sellers operate under the same rules. This Agreement ensures that all retailers can conduct their business in a fair, competitive environment.

We support legislation which permits local governments to delay the submission of their annual budget to October 15th, with maximum levies to be published in August as they are currently.

  • Legislation extending the statutory timetable for municipal budget preparation, publication, hearing, adoption, and certification until at least October 15th is sensible. This would ensure more accurate revenue information is available for local officials to make crucial local funding decisions. The City recognizes delaying budget certification can impact other levels of government and would support requiring local governments to submit their maximum property tax levy in August, but delay full budget certification until later in the year. Therefore, the City also supports the ability for municipalities to opt in or out of extending the budget certification cycle.

Mandates and Funding

We support full and continuous funding for programs, projects, or activities the State imposes upon local units of government.

  • State-mandated actions and programs handed down to local governments without accompanying funding are contrary to the concept of constitutional home rule and is a fiscally unsound practice. Any function or activity mandated by the state and provided by municipalities should be fully and continuously funded by the state.

We support continued funding for the current comprehensive transportation program known as “T- WORKS.”

  • Superior-quality transportation infrastructure is crucial to the competitive advantage Kansas municipalities have over those in neighboring states and is essential to the safety of commuters traveling the roadways. Reallocation of any funding which support the T-WORKS program is detrimental to our economic development interests. To ensure that Kansas remains competitive in key areas, we encourage the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to give projects that yield additional tax revenue the highest consideration in developing statewide program priorities.

We support the establishment of long-term, dedicated funding sources which support transportation improvements.

  • The current funding mechanism for the T-WORKS program is unsustainable and a new, long-term, truly dedicated source must be identified.

We support adequate funding of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) and separation of local units of government from the State and school retirement systems.

  • Funding KPERS is the fiduciary responsibility all participating employers have to their employees who have contributed to the system throughout their careers. Separation of each governmental unit will allow each employer group to address its obligations more directly.

Public Safety

We support fully funding public safety initiatives and programs and believe that authority for making crucial public safety funding decisions should reside at the local level.

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

We support H.B. No. 2007, an act concerning law enforcement; creating a law enforcement mutual aid region for critical incidents.

  • Critical public safety incidents are not limited to one side of the state line. Law enforcement agencies in both Kansas and Missouri have traditionally worked together when circumstances warrant. However, during certain events, it would be prudent, efficient, and effective for law enforcement personnel to exercise jurisdiction on either side of the state line if called upon by a partner agency. Currently, Missouri has passed legislation allowing this exercise of jurisdiction. However, to be legally enforceable, the Kansas legislature must pass the same enabling legislation. This initiative is supported by several municipalities in the Kansas City metropolitan area as well as by several law enforcement professional organizations and associations.

We support current laws against racial profiling and oppose any changes which would negatively impact the relationship between law enforcement personnel and the communities they serve.

  • Straining the relationship between law enforcement personnel and the community makes it difficult to protect our communities. Enacting laws which would expand the use of bias-based policing practices may generate negative relationships between the police and the public.

We support legislation allowing cities to use technology to counterbalance the need for more staff, promote public safety, reduce accidents, and solve crimes.

  • Advances in technology are creating opportunities to enhance public safety in our communities. Apparatuses including, but not limited to, red-light cameras, body cameras, and license plate readers have reduced accidents, solved crimes, and given public safety personnel the ability to cost-effectively enforce laws without taking on the financial burden of hiring more law enforcement officers.
Education and Environment

We support funding public education in a manner which ensures students will be able to compete in the global economy.

  • Public education is essential to keeping our local economies and communities strong.

We support the efforts and process of the Governor’s 50-Year Water Vision for water quality/quantity planning and sustainability.

  • The Governor’s 50-Year Water Vision is a step in the right direction for ensuring the availability and quality of this precious resource. However, it is imperative the Governor’s Water Vision Team continually seek input from local governments in the process of developing the plan. With the help of Kansas municipalities and counties, the Governor can implement a water strategy that will benefit generations of Kansans to come.

We support fully funding public safety initiatives and programs and believe that authority for making crucial public safety funding decisions should reside at the local level.

 

     Local public safety personnel are the first to respond to crime and acts of terrorism, and are often at the forefront of preventing such events. Funding should be allocated in a way that allows these professionals to protect their communities in the manner which best serves local citizens.

 

We support H.B. No. 2007, an act concerning law enforcement; creating a law enforcement mutual aid region for critical incidents.

 

·         Critical public safety incidents are not limited to one side of the state line. Law enforcement agencies in both Kansas and Missouri have traditionally worked together when circumstances warrant. However, during certain events, it would be prudent, efficient, and effective for law enforcement personnel to exercise jurisdiction on either side of the state line if called upon by a partner agency. Currently, Missouri has passed legislation allowing this exercise of jurisdiction. However, to be legally enforceable, the Kansas legislature must pass the same enabling legislation. This initiative is supported by several municipalities in the Kansas City metropolitan area as well as by several law enforcement professional organizations and associations.

 

We support current laws against racial profiling and oppose any changes which would negatively impact the relationship between law enforcement personnel and the communities they serve.

 

     Straining the relationship between law enforcement personnel and the community makes it difficult to protect our communities. Enacting laws which would expand the use of bias-based policing practices may generate negative relationships between the police and the public.

 

We support legislation allowing cities to use technology to counterbalance the need for more staff, promote public safety, reduce accidents, and solve crimes.

 

     Advances in technology are creating opportunities to enhance public safety in our communities. Apparatuses including, but not limited to, red-light cameras, body cameras, and license plate readers have reduced accidents, solved crimes, and given public safety personnel the ability to cost-effectively enforce laws without taking on the financial burden of hiring more law enforcement officers.

 

We support funding public education in a manner which ensures students will be able to compete in the global economy.

 

     Public education is essential to keeping our local economies and communities strong.

 

We support the efforts and process of the Governor’s 50-Year Water Vision for water quality/quantity planning and sustainability.

 

     The Governor’s 50-Year Water Vision is a step in the right direction for ensuring the availability and quality of this precious resource. However, it is imperative the Governor’s Water Vision Team continually seek input from local governments in the process of developing the plan. With the help of Kansas municipalities and counties, the Governor can implement a water strategy that will benefit generations of Kansans to come.