new Kansas law
By TIM HORAN
Guns in the courtroom became an impromptu subject at the Dickinson County Commission’s regular meeting Thursday.
Right before Chairman LaVerne Myers slammed the gavel signaling the end of the meeting, the county commission’s attorney, Doug Thompson, said that the new Kansas conceal and carry law will allow for concealed weapons in public places for those that have permits including courts, both district and municipal, that don’t have specific security measures in place.
Thompson called the “unfunded mandate” something that could prove costly for counties, possibly into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security in county facilities. Currently, guns are only allowed in the court room by law enforcement officials.
Thompson said he is still reviewing the law.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill opening Kansas public buildings within four years to people with permits to carry concealed handguns, unless operators of the buildings invest in security upgrades.
Reforms in House Bill 2052 require city, county and state buildings to eventually remove bans on concealed handguns unless metal detectors or security guards are put in place to bolster the safety of inhabitants. Universities and municipalities fought the bill, arguing the state mandate imposed unreasonable costs on governmental entities.
“The right to bear arms has long been among those constitutional rights held most sacred by the citizens of Kansas,” Brownback said.
Myers said it was a subject discussed with Representative John Barker, R-Abilene, in a work study session that morning.
“This is the first time we discussed it,” Myers said, referring to the new law. “I think we’ll need 4-years to talk about it.”
In his report, Commissioner Lynn Peterson reported on the Military Affairs Council Breakfast Thursday morning.
“They give a monthly update on some of the events,” Peterson said.
Thursday morning’s program was Col. William Clark, Garrison Commander at Fort Riley.
Peterson said that Clark is getting ready to retire and has purchased a house in Abilene.
“He and his wife Andrea are very excited to come to the community,” Peterson said. “They will be a great addition to our community.”
“He could be a great asset to the community,” Myers said of Col. Clark. “He is a true leader.”
Commissioner Craig Chamberlin was absent from the meeting. He serves on the North Central Kansas Planning Commission,which was touring facilities in Ellsworth Thursday.
The commission approved a resolution naming April 28 through May 5 Hope Center Awareness Week
“We seek funding fr from churches, individuals and The United Way,” said H.O.P.E. volunteer the Rev. Robert Fraiser. “We have offices in the Sunflower Building.”
H.O.P.E. also has a transitional house that the organization makes available for families that face the possibility of being homeless.
In his report to the commission, County Administrator Brad Homman said that the 911 staff is hosting an active shooter class.
“We have people registered from surrounding states as well as in Kansas,” he said. “We also had an inquiry from staff in Lincoln, Neb. that wanted to look at our 911 center here.
“That should be a very good class and fills a gap between law enforcement and schools and everyone involved whenever you have an incident at a school,” he added. “The 911 operator is in the midst of that. It teaches them things that are specific that they have to deal with during an incident of that nature.”
The road and bridge department has started working on replacing a bridge at 2820 Flag Road. That section of Flag Road is closed.
The commissioners attended an NGA luncheon with NGA board members and members of the community. The luncheon is sponsored by the city.
“What an asset that is to have the NGA and the greyhound industry in Dickinson County,” Homman said. “That is really a privilege that we have.”
The county intends to place the solar billboard along Old Highway 40 with a message thanking the NGA for being here.
The Public Building Commission also met for its yearly meeting. The Commission’s sole purpose is to allow the county to borrow money which is used to improve the county’s EMS facility.
Homman reported to the commission that all bills had been paid and there were no delinquencies or penalties.
With Joe Nold and Sheila Biggs going off the commission, commissioners Peterson and Chamberlin were added. Myers was elected board president and Chamberlin was elected secretary. Also, all board members were approved to serve another term. They include Dennis Riordan, James Hedstrom, Ralph Hilton, Gabriel Simmons and Myers.
The commission also:
* approved the consent agenda which included the minutes of the April 18 work session and regular meeting, payroll of $329,442.85, fund expenditures of $159, 626.61 and added tax of $47,425.28.
*approved a resolution making April 28 through May 5 Hope Center Awareness Week.