Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rep. Jones updates county leaders on session so far

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 4/11/2014

With the regular legislative session at an end, state Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, shared an overview of the past few months in Topeka with the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

“We’ve done everything from dealing with religious liberties to fluoride in our water this session,” Jones said Wednesday morning. “Hopefully we killed stuff that shouldn’t even be coming to our level and brought things up that needed to be talked about.”

A bill that proposed moving elections to the fall instead of the spring was one Jones said he’d received a lot of calls about from county clerks on in his district.

“There’s a big push for this just because the idea is to get more people out for elections and to reduce costs possibly,” he said. “I’ve talked to all my clerks and they’re not for this. It really would be throwing the dice I think when it comes to getting more people because what’s to say we don’t have big snow in the fall. I’m not convinced on that one.”

Another proposed bill Jones told commissioners to keep their eyes on was dealing with the transfer of guns, knives and firearms, with the main focus of that bill being on employees of cities and municipalities having concealed carry licenses, he said.

“The main thing I think with this is the concealed carry of firearms ... will not require disclosure from municipal employees who possess concealed carry [permits],” Jones said. “If you work for a municipality and you have a concealed carry permit, you wouldn’t be required to disclose that.”

Though it’s water under the bridge, Steve Harris said, the new law put in place last year requiring city and municipality buildings to install necessary security if the building chose to not allow concealed carry weapons was a burden to the city and county.

“If we wanted to secure certain areas and be in compliance with the law, it would cost cities and counties a lot of money,” Harris, board chairman, said. 

Jones touched briefly on the recent passing of the school finance bill and told commissioners to be on the lookout for bills that could be bundled together.

Harris was displeased to see a bill passed that phases out the state’s mortgage registration fee, he said, but also asked Jones to pay special attention to bills that could help economic development in all counties.

“I know you’re juggling this all at one time,” Harris said. “I’d say the same thing to you as I said to Rep. [Blaine] Finch [R-Ottawa] ... look at those things closely that are business friendly because economic development is huge for all counties to broaden the tax base.” 

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