Legislature moves closer to selling state-owned buildings

KU Statehouse Wire Service

TOPEKA — Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said the Legislature never anticipated there would come a time when it would sell off state assets. But that is what is being proposed in SB 423 to sell real estate in downtown Topeka, including the Landon state office building and the Eisenhower state office building.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka

In a long debate in the Senate on Monday, there were four proposed amendments to SB 423 with three amendments approved.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D- Lawrence, proposed an amendment requiring a cost-benefit analysis of a potential sale to be submitted to the State Finance Council and then reviewed by the Legislature.

Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, said this requirement of legislative action to make sales final is just another hurdle. In response, Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the hurdle referred to is the Legislature itself.

“When you’re talking about a multi-million dollar sale, I think it’s within the purview of the Kansas Legislature to approve or disapprove that,” Hensley said. “I think it’s our responsibility as the elected representatives of the people of Kansas to be directly involved in this process.”

After a roll call vote, the amendment failed 11 yea, 29 nay.

The concerns of Francisco and other Yea-voters were answered in the amendment proposed by Kelly requiring the sale be approved by the secretary of administration and consulted with the joint committee on state building construction.

SB 432 passed as amended by the Committee of the Whole and will move forward for final action.

Hannah Swank is a University of Kansas senior from Topeka majoring in journalism.