With the start of the 2022 session of the Kansas Legislature less than a month away, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners voted on Dec. 16 to approve the 2022 State Legislative Platform.
The document serves as the basis for the county’s advocacy efforts and priorities for the Kansas Legislature when it convenes on Jan. 10, 2022 with a scheduled adjournment on May 25.
Totaling five pages, the state platform outlines the county’s recommendations on legislative and regulatory issues, policies and funding decisions of interest for the potential impact they will have on Johnson County and residents.
The 2022 State Legislative Platform features three core principles: retain and enhance county home rule authority, maintain local decision making and oppose unfunded mandates. The principles feature a wide range of 48 topics, including Johnson County’s support, opposition or requests involving infrastructure, appraisal, state services by the county, fiscal impact, environment, elections, healthcare, senior tax relief, human services and judicial.
The action agenda priorities in the platform include:
• Increased funding for mental health services and community mental health center grants.
• Medicaid expansion in Kansas.
• Legislation to facilitate collection of compensating use tax from purchases made from sellers with no physical presence in Kansas based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota vs. Wayfair. The ruling held states may require businesses with no in-state location to collect and remit sales tax.
• Expansion of the eligibility of the Homestead Act and SAFESR – Kansas Property Tax Relief for Low Income Seniors – to provide property tax relief for those on fixed incomes. Additionally, the proposal supports tying current program income limits to federal poverty guidelines.
• Dedicated funding of a comprehensive funding of a comprehensive transportation plan, including highways, airports, trails and transit.
The development of a “forward-thinking (public) transit approach that connects the community and serves vulnerable populations” is among the top 2022 goals of the board.
Another priority is to “strengthen and finance the appropriate level of service to meet the needs of the county’s vulnerable populations and create conditions that promote community health,” including a growing population of older adults and retirees on fixed incomes.
Johnson County’s 2022 State Legislative Platform is available online at jocogov.org/legislativeplatforms