The Shawnee County Commission on Thursday will consider raising the minimum tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21 in the county’s unincorporated areas.
Commission Chairman Bob Archer’s proposal to make that move is among items on the agenda when commissioners Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler meet at 9 a.m. in their chambers in Room B-11 of the County Courthouse, 200 S.E. 7th.
The measure would ban the sale or furnishing of cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, tobacco products or liquid nicotine to anyone under 21 in the unincorporated areas. It would no longer allow such products to be legally provided to people ages 18 to 20.
The proposal wouldn’t specifically ban possession by those who are underage.
It would hold retailers responsible for violations committed by their employees. Violators would be subject to a $200 fine.
Commissioners listened to comments from three people while hearing the proposal’s first reading Thursday. They plan to accept further comment and consider the measure for action on Thursday.
Shawnee County has no resolutions regulating tobacco acquisition by age but enforces Kansas statute 33-7799, which bans the public from selling or furnishing tobacco products to anyone under 18.
Commissioners have the authority to raise the minimum tobacco purchase age only in the county’s unincorporated areas, where 11 convenience stores are located.
Imposing such a restriction in Shawnee County’s five incorporated areas — the cities of Topeka, Auburn, Rossville, Silver Lake and Willard — would require the approval of its governing bodies.
Commissioners also plan Thursday to discuss and consider potential cuts to the 2018 requested county budget.
The requested budget contains a combination of requests from department heads, elected officials and organizations seeking county funding.
Those entities are seeking funding in amounts that, if approved in its entirety, would raise the property tax levy the county assesses by 2.76 mills, from 48.345 to 51.099. Such an increase would amount to an additional $31.74 in property taxes assessed by the county to the owner of a $100,000 home.
However, the commission has historically made cuts from requests before finalizing the budget, which it is required to do by Aug. 25.
Buhler said last week that commissioners plan to begin discussing and potentially acting on the 2018 requested budget Thursday, continue to consider revisions as they meet on Monday and Thursday mornings over the following two weeks.
Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.