Two more KLC initiatives are halfway to becoming law after the House of Representatives cleared the measures on Tuesday.
Representative Deanna Frazier Gordon (R-Richmond) sponsored House Bill 351, which allows a local government to submit an affidavit when required to provide a state agency with a lost, damaged, or destroyed record.
“HB 351 is a commonsense answer for local governments that suffer natural events, fires, malicious attacks, and cybercrime,” she said from the House floor. “Allowing local governments to file an affidavit helps ensure they do not miss out on vital funding opportunities when it is needed the most.”
Local governments must make a good-faith effort to replace or recreate the lost or damaged record, explain how they verified the data, and describe how the document was lost, damaged, or destroyed.
The law does not apply to documents local governments must file for elections, real property transactions, matters of taxation, or corrections reports.
The House passed the bill by an 82-15 vote.
Representative Josh Branscum (R-Russell Springs) sponsored House Bill 399. The House passed it 90-10.
The measure permits cities to hear public comments about Local Government Economic Assistance (LGEA) funds or municipal road aid (MRA) projects at an advertised public meeting instead of special hearings solely for those projects.
Many local leaders say citizens rarely attend specially-called meetings to discuss LGEA grants or MRA-funded projects.
“A requirement to hold special meetings solely for that purpose creates an administrative burden for local governments and does not improve transparency or communication if no one attends,” Branscum explained. “House Bill 399 offers commonsense solutions to deal with that issue as well as current cumbersome audit requirements for smaller cities with no long-term debt.”
The bill raises the annual audit exemption for cities with no long-term debt to $150,000. Currently, the state only exempts cities that receive and expend less than $75,000. The current exemption level has been in place since 1996. Around 30 cities fall under the current exemption; House Bill 399 would add another 27 cities to the list.
Cities have struggled to find auditors to provide the annual reports, which can cost 5% or more of a smaller city’s annual budget.
House Bill 399 adds a level of accountability. Any city that claims the audit exemption for four consecutive years must have an independent auditor conduct an attestation engagement.