Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Interlocal agreement bill gets committee’s OK

A bill that could expand the jurisdiction of local law enforcement and other local agencies throughout Kentucky has cleared a House committee.

Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, the sponsor of House Bill 189, says his legislation would make it easier for sheriffs, police and other local agencies to enter into existing interlocal agreements, which are contracts that allow local governments to share services. Approval to join an existing agreement must now be sought by all affected local government parties and either the Attorney General or the Department for Local Government, a rule that supporters of HB 189 say is a burden on local agencies.

“The process is cumbersome, lengthy and expensive,” Georgetown City Attorney Andrew Hartley told the House Local Government Committee before it approved HB 189.

Hartley said the bill would allow local governments to bring new agencies into an existing agreement without the extra red tape—as long as the terms of the agreement are basically unchanged.

“This is not automatic and would only happen with the approval of all affected (local) legislative bodies,” but would not require state approval, Hartley said.

HB 189 is backed by dozens of local law enforcement agencies including 26 police and sheriff’s department throughout Central Kentucky that share jurisdiction through an existing interlocal agreement. The agreement has been in place for over a year but has not been able to be easily amended under existing law.

“We’re looking for a mechanism to allow (other law enforcement agencies) into that same system that seems to be working for us in Central Kentucky,” Georgetown Police Chief Michael Bosse told the committee before the vote.

HB 189 now goes to the full House for consideration.