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From the Reference Desk...

This blog provides links to current resources to help you find what is new and noteworthy in the state of Kansas. State Library staff will highlight a topic of specific interest and supply links to important news and services in the state of Kansas.

Jul 20

Cities in Kansas

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 9:57 AM by Brian Herder

Weeks ago we discussed the nature of counties in Kansas. For this blog post we will discuss cities.

Cities are different than counties in that they are not specifically intended to carry out local operations of the state government, although they still do this to some extent. For example, city police may arrest suspects of a state crime, which can then be prosecuted by the state via the local court district.

Kansas statutes Ch. 12, Article 1 outlines basic city powers and responsibilities in Kansas. Incorporated cities are legally recognized as having certain powers of a corporation, such as a business, summarized in KSA 12-101. They are also permitted powers of zoning, taxation for city purposes and certain powers of law enforcement.

Article Twelve of the Kansas Constitution addresses corporations, which includes cities. Since a 1960 amendment to the Kansas constitution, Kansas cities function under home rule principles, which empowers cities "to determine their local affairs and government, including the levying of taxes, fees , charges, and other exactions." If one peruses Kansas legislation from the late 19th and early 20th century, one can see many state laws passed specific to one city. With the enactment of home rule, the state legislature can spend more time dealing with issues of a statewide nature, and leave many of the most local issues to the cities' power of home rule.

The state of Kansas recognizes three classes of cities depending on population size. While all cities have to follow some of the same laws and rules, other laws and rules are specific to the city's class. First class cities have populations of more than 15,000, Second class cities between 2,000 and 15,000, and Third class cities of less than 2,000. Growing second class cities are legally allowed to remain second class cities until they reach 25,000, while growing third class cities are allowed to remain third class cities until they reach 5,000.

City voters may choose between being governed by the City-Manager plan, or the Modified Mayor-Council Form of Government

It is important to note that one city, Kansas City, has consolidated its city government with the Wyandotte county government. This is the only consolidated city-county government in Kansas.
Jun 14

Special Session

Posted on June 14, 2016 at 1:31 PM by Brett Rurode

A Special Session has been called and will begin on June 23rd.  The Legislative Procedure Manual states “the Governor may call a special session if the legislature whenever the Governor believes it warranted.”  They usually are called to address one or two important matters.  This year, the governor has called a Special Session to address school finance.

Important things to know:

  1. There is no specific time limit on a Special Session, but they typically take 2 to 3 days.
  2. New bill numbers will be introduced.  It is possible that the subject matter of a previous bill could come up, but the bill number will be different.
  3. Even though the Special Session is called to address school finance, other topics can come up.
  4. Legislators will not have office staff to answer questions and take messages. 
  5. During Special Session, the legislators are not allowed to accept campaign contributions.

KSA 25-4153a  

If you have any questions, please contact the State Library’s Legislative Hotline at 1-800-432-3924 

Special Sessions are permitted by the Kansas Constitution under Article One, Section 5:



State Library of Kansas Reference
Reference: 785-296-2149
Legislative Hotline: 1-800-432-3924

Jun 02

What are counties?

Posted on June 2, 2016 at 10:51 AM by Brian Herder

All of us know what county we live in, and that it's some sort of government, and definitely it involves taxes. But what are counties, anyway?

The Kansas state government is sovereign in Kansas, but carrying out local government functions from Topeka would be difficult, and Americans typically prefer local government to take care of local issues.

Kansas law defines what a Kansas county is in KSA 19-101.  The state of Kansas legally defines 105 geographic counties to govern local issues and enforce state law locally. Counties' powers are specifically prescribed by the state, as well as their bureaucratic structure.

Kansas counties have their own "capital city", known as the county seat.   

Kansas law addressing counties can be found in the Kansas Statutes under Chapter 18 - Counties and Chapter 19 - Counties and County Officers.