Seeking clarification on concealed carry

By Maura Wery

Riley County commissioners on Monday asked for a letter to be sent to the state attorney general seeking clarification of the requirements to be imposed on them by concealed carry legislation that will take effect on July 1.

The measure will allow those with concealed carry licenses to enter government buildings armed, although it allows commissions to exempt those buildings until 2018 if adequate security plans put in place.

Commissioners said Monday they hope the attorney general will interpret what exactly those “adequate” measures include. The statute refers to electronic security and personnel, and commissioners said they are unsure of the ramifications of either doing more or less.

“A lot of counties will want clarification,” county clerk Rich Vargo said. County counselor Clancy Holeman agreed that the AG could “shed some light on this” issue, but told the commission that they may not have an answer about it by July 1, when the law goes into effect.

“How are they going to police that?” Vargo said. “Are they going to go into all 105 counties? No.”

Holeman and the commission agreed that the idea of policing probably wouldn’t happen but they definitely need a clarification in order to move forward with the plans on securing both the courthouse and the county building.

ATA bus sees rise

in numbers

Anne Smith, director of ATA Bus, said numbers for both the first quarter of 2013 and for calendar year 2012 have gone up. Smith said there were about 160,000 riders during 2012, compared with 65,000 in 2011. For the months of January through March 2013, the buses transported 72,074 riders.

One contributor was the creation of the fixed route system, which is marking its first anniversary of operation this month. She said around 49,000 people rode the fixed route, and that was without any signage. That was 11 percent above predictions and Smith said the agency was still under budget.

With ridership rising, Smith said she is looking forward to the opening of their new building in July. The transit facility broke ground last year next to the Public Works complex on Marlatt Avenue. The new facility will include geothermal heating and cooling stations along with washing bays for the buses.

Smith also discussed the possibility of ATA being a non-profit organization independent from the county.

She said the Federal Transit Authority is currently in talks to allow transit companies to be their own designated collectors of funds, making them independent non-profits. Smith said that she has been working closely with Holeman to push this issue.

“We don’t want to be a county department any more than you want us to be,” Smith said.

She added, however, that nothing would be done on this issue until at least July of 2014.

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