Thursday, June 29, 2006

Library Sales Tax Exemption Clarified

Marc Galbraith
State Library of Kansas
300 SW 10°i Ave, Rm 343N
Topeka, KS 66612-1593

Re: Your Correspondence Dated June 21, 2006 Dear Mr. Galbraith:

You requested clarification concerning the provisions in 2006 Senate Bill 404 providing a new sales tax exemption, effective July 1, 2006, for public libraries on their sales of tangible personal property, which will be codified at new subparagraph (ooo) of K.S.A. 79-3606.

You ask what libraries are covered within the exemption, and in particular whether the exemption would include public academic libraries which also serve the general public and are supported in whole or in part with tax money, and for which there are not-for-profit organizations whose purpose is to raise funds for or provide services or other benefits for those same academic libraries. The libraries described above appear to fit within the new exemption.

You also ask what tangible personal property is included in the exemption. Sales of tangible personal property by public libraries or not-for-profit organizations whose purpose is to raise funds for such libraries are included in the exemption. This would cover not only sales of books and other library reading material but also pencils, paper, coffee cups and book bags.

You further ask about the types of sales and number of sales covered by the new exemption. The new exemption places no limitations on the number of sales. It would include public library book sales, whether sponsored by the public library or a library friends group, regardless of how many sales took place within a year. It would exempt proceeds from the sale of library books and related material from an ongoing sale in a shop/cafe or in "booktiques," as long as the sale is made by a public library or not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to raise funds for or provide services or other benefits to such public library, such as a library friends group.

Finally, you ask whether the library must secure 501(c)(3) status in order to claim the exemption. The statutory language requires that library must serve the general public and must be supported all or in part by tax dollars, in order to qualify for the exemption on its sales of tangible personal property. It does not require that the library obtain 501(c)(3) status. However, in order for sales on behalf of a public library to qualify for the exemption, the organization conducting the sale must be able to verify its not-for-profit status and show that its purpose is to raise funds for the public library or to provide services or other benefits to the public library. Status as a 501(c)(3) organization for those purposes would provide such verification for the not-for-profit organization.

I trust this addresses the questions you raised. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Very truly yours,

Richard L. Cram

Monday, June 26, 2006

Libraries Ask about Unconcealed Weapons

While the Kansas Legislature recently passed legislation making it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in a library, some librarians have asked about the status of Kansas law regarding unconcealed weapons and whether or not it is legal to bring unconcealed weapons into a library.

The short answer to this question is that Kansas statutes are silent with regard to unconcealed weapons.

That means there is no state law that makes it illegal to carry an unconcealed weapon in Kansas; therefore, it is presumably legal to carry a firearm or gun on your person, so long as it is visible.

The longer answer to this question is that local governments can regulate such activity by ordinance. Generally speaking then, the question of whether it is legal or illegal to carry an unconcealed weapon or firearm in a library has to be answered at the local level. In fact, a number of cities in Kansas have passed such ordinances. Libraries should inquire with their local city attorney, or prosecutor, as to whether their city has such an ordinance.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Concealed Carry and Kansas Libraries

In response to questions from the State Library, the Kansas Attorney General’s office recently responded by stating the Personal and Family Protection Act (also known as the Conceal Carry bill) makes it a class A misdemeanor to carry a concealed weapon in “any public library operated by the State or by a political subdivision of the State” even if the person has a license to carry a concealed weapon. 2006 HB 2118, Sect. 7. “Weapon includes a handgun, pistol, or revolver.”

The Attorney General’s office also responded that a library is not required to post a sign. If a library employee becomes aware that a patron is carrying a weapon, he or she should feel comfortable calling the police or following the library’s procedure regarding the commission of crimes on library property.

Licenses will be issued after January 1, 2007. If the library wants to put up a sign reminding licensees that they can’t carry their weapons in the library, the library is free to do so. Part of the 8 hours training that licensees have to undergo before getting a license includes educating them regarding where they cannot carry a concealed weapon so licensees are on notice that libraries are off limits.

There are no regulations that the library has to follow regarding signage. It could be something as simple as a picture of a handgun with a big slash across it similar to the “no smoking” signs, or something like “It is a crime to carry a concealed handgun in this library even if you have a license to carry a concealed handgun.”

Determining the appearance of the signs will be up to each library.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

State Library Seeks Clarification on Sales Tax Exemption

Legislation (Senate Bill 404, section ooo) just passed by the 2006 legislature gives libraries and library Friends groups a sales tax exemption on the sale of tangible personal property. The legislation appears straight forward, but a spate of questions regarding what organizations, what tangible personal property and what type of sales events are covered by the legislation point to the need for clarification.

In response to that need, the State Library will ask the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) for help in understanding the new law. KDOR can respond in several ways including a formal “Revenue Ruling” and “Private Revenue Letter”. How KDOR responds is somewhat dependent on how we submit the question. We will explore the best options with the staff at KDOR and act accordingly.

It is difficult to predict how long the process might take, but several weeks to a month certainly would not be out of the question.

Watch this blog for a post that includes KDOR’s clarifying response.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Governor Signs Kansas Library Homework Legislation

The State Library is pleased to announce that on May 24, Governor Sebelius signed legislation in the final step to provide funding for HomeworkKansas, an online service to connect kids with tutors for homework help. The service will be available in mid-August for after-school use through Kansas libraries and home computers.

HomeworkKansas has one mission – to connect Kansas students with a live tutor in one-on-one homework sessions. Sessions are conducted online via the internet and a computer located in a public library or in the student’s home. The tutors are all subject experts and student and tutor are matched by grade level and homework topic. Tutoring sessions take place in an online classroom via chat and an online whiteboard. The service will be offered seven days a week, from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., after schools close for the day and when students are doing their homework. The tutoring sessions will be available in both English and Spanish.

The State Library will begin plans for rolling out HomeworkKansas in the near future with a kick-off planned for mid-August. Before that time, there will be training opportunities for library staff to familiarize themselves with the product, and we plan to provide maximum publicity about the upcoming availability of the service. We will also be asking you for help in spreading the word to your community or school about the program so that every student is ready to use this wonderful service when schools open in the fall.

HomeworkKansas is a product of, and was an enhancement in the State Library’s budget request for FY 2007 and a priority item in KLA legislative agenda. The initiative was supported early on by the Governor and generally received warm support by Kansas legislators. As is true with many new initiatives, the HomeworkKansas request was moved to the omnibus bill and to consideration in the latter days of the session. Legislators remained supportive and it survived the omnibus process and moved to the Governor’s desk. Special thanks goes to KLA and all those who advocated for this important online service.

If you have questions about the project, please feel free to email me at or call 785-296-2146.