Bill description: HB 130 would specify public notice requirements for city annexations and make changes to increase accountability on how private lands are annexed.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?
HB 130 includes stronger public notice requirements for annexations, specifying that notices of an initial public hearing for annexation should be mailed to property owners at least 60 days before the public hearing.
HB 130 also increases the accountability of cities that wish to annex private land by completely eliminating Category C annexations and altering the definition of Category A and B annexations. The number of privately owned properties that can be annexed without consent under Category A is lowered from the current limit of 100 to 50. For Category B annexations, the number also declines, from the current 100 properties to 25. Any annexation of more than 25 private properties under this category would require the consent of more than 60 percent of the owners affected.
Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?
This bill gives a special exemption from the two categories of annexation to lands over five acres that are actively devoted to agriculture or forestry. It does so by requiring written permission for those lands to be annexed. This special exemption violates the equal protection principle because it gives only certain lands an exemption from forced annexation. The same exemption would not be granted to a landowner who uses their property for another purpose, like a livestock business.