At NEJC State of the Cities luncheon, Mission Hills council president says state legislature poses threat to city rights

Mission Hills Council President David Dickey said lawmakers in Topeka continued to chip away at cities' rights.
Mission Hills Council President David Dickey said lawmakers in Topeka continued to chip away at cities’ rights.

The annual Northeast Johnson County State of the Cities luncheon is typically an opportunity for city leaders to highlight the positive things happening in their community. On Thursday, a Mission Hills official used the platform to take a swipe at the creeping influence of state government in local affairs.

Mission Hills council president David Dickey told the crowd of several hundred gathered at the Overland Park Marriott that the biggest issue facing northeast Johnson County is the Kansas legislature.

“[Topeka] continues to strip local control away,” Dickey said.

A variety of bills that have come out of the statehouse in recent years have irked northeast Johnson County leaders. From the bill that removed cities’ ability to control the way firearms are carried within their limits in 2014, to the property tax lid legislation passed in 2015, there has been considerable consensus among many NEJC elected officials that the state has trampled on cities’ home-rule authority.

On Thursday, Dickey pointed specifically at legislation that would restrict cities from regulating what telecommunications companies could place in city rights-of-way. Mayor Rick Boeshaar, who was unable to attend the luncheon Thursday, had criticized that legislation as a threat to the aesthetics of his highly manicured city in a column in the city newsletter last month.

The annual luncheon, which featured updates from leaders from nine northeast Johnson County cities, is put on by the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.