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Jan. 24, 2018
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Minutes for HB2137 - Committee on Local Government

Short Title

Cities and counties; governing body members, certain volunteer activities.

Minutes Content for Tue, Jan 31, 2017

Chairman Williams opened the hearing on the bill.

Mike Heim presented an overview on the bill.

Representative Rahjes presented testimony in support of the bill stating Kansas is a "neighbor helping neighbor" state. The bill would add language to define what a volunteer is, and will not change the status. In most communities, First Responders are key to handling medical emergencies and saving lives. They are still a very important component as a volunteer.  (Attachment 1)

Stephen Duerst presented testimony in support of the bill, stating it would allow county commissioners and members of city governing bodies to continue to serve as members of local volunteer fire departments and EMS departments.  In many cases of the smallest communities, the entire city governing body may be serving on the volunteer emergency service agency.  (Attachment 2)

Joseph House presented testimony in support of the bill, stating he believes that an elected local official should be able to maintain the right to provide volunteer EMS or fire fighting service to the community for which they serve.  Recruitment and retention of personnel are the largest obstacles for smaller ambulance services to overcome. (Attachment 3)

Brandon Beck submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, containing information about the challenges to provide adequate ambulance services due to the shortage of trained personnel. Adjusting the Kansas law to allow local elected officials to serve in additional capacities does not challenge  the premise of contradictory roles due to limited dollars in small communities.(Attachment 4)

Cindy Green provided neutral written only testimony that addressed the incompatibility of concurrently holding two positions with a city or county. A conflict could be created as a volunteer firefighter, who reports to the fire chief, and yet as a city council member, hires the same fire chief. (Attachment 5)

Chairperson Williams closed the hearing on the bill.

This bill will be worked on Thursday, February 2, along with a presentation on Drop Box.

There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 1:55 PM.

The next scheduled meeting will be February 2.