Tuesday, January 30, 2007

House Government Operations -- Hard at Work

The House Government Operations committee has been busy over the last few meetings, and has been dealing primarily with the issues of municipal government. Late last week and early this week the committee sided with municipal governments and opposed legislation that would have required a public vote in any circumstance where a municipality is trying to dispose of a piece of real property and also would require annual audits of municipal bonds that are backed by private lease payments.

They will again be asked to support municipalites on Thursday as two critical pieces of legislation that will come before their committee. Unfortunately, we are again asking the committee to oppose bills. The bills in question are HB233 – Environmentally Restricted Zoning Districts and HB334 – Eminent Domain (regarding trails). Both bills are being run to benefit one disgruntled citizen in Mapleton, Dr Gibby, who has repeatedly lost legal battles with the city on issues regarding the use of his property. In fact, the case is still before the court of appeals and much of this legislation would apply retroactively to issues that he has lost in previous court decisions. We feel confident that the legislature will see the wisdom in allowing the legal process to take its course prior to stepping in on an issue where everyone involved has sided with the municipal government.

Fortunatley, the League of Cities has been able to solve most issues prior to reaching the House or Senate Floor. We hope the trend continues, as it is always easier to resolve issues in smaller settings prior to the larger debate. We will keep you posted on our progress.