Acts Of Land Bank Desperation
It was comical that Missouri legislators, apparently blind to irony, tacked a lengthy land bank bill onto a bill that was supposed to increase government transparency.
Well, lawmakers have done it again. The latest bill to get what I am now going to call the “Kansas City Land Bank Bump” is Senate Bill 692, a bill that was initially intended to help counties manage their budgets. This time, the bill ballooned from two pages to an impressive 93 pages. It appears that about 30 of those pages are dedicated to creating a land bank in Kansas City.
Given that a land bank created under this bill could entail unlimited amounts of debt, the addition of the land bank language to a county budget bill is almost as ironic as the previous act of desperation.
Moreover, these moves may not even be constitutional. The Missouri Constitution states that bills cannot contain more than one subject, and that subject must be clearly stated in the bill’s title. Does “decreasing county budgets” accurately describe a bill that would create a land bank? Perhaps, if SB 692 passes, a court will have to decide.
Look, if a land bank is such a great idea (and after extensive study, I do not think it is), why can’t legislators pass it on its own merits, instead of continuing to try and hide it as an amendment to unrelated bills?