By Todd Wineburner
The Livingston County board last night passed a resolution expressing support for concealed carry legislation currently being proposed in Springfield. The specific legislation is House bill 997, also known as the Family and Personal Protection Act. During a public comment opportunity, attorney Larry Necheles addressed the board prior to the vote, warning that such a resolution, while not binding, might still be used by defense attorneys to make gun crime prosecutions more difficult. Necheles currently serves as the Livingston County Public Guardian. Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff attended the meeting as well. He says he understands Necheles’s concerns, but he doesn’t think court proceedings will be adversely affected by the resolution because state law isn't influenced by the opinions of the Livingston County board.
The resolution was approved with 17 votes in favor, 2 against, and one abstention. Abstaining was board member Kelly Cochran-Cohlman, who represents district 1. She said after the meeting that her abstention had to do with the idea of the resolution, not its content. She believes that there are plenty of issues in Livingston County that need attention, and she'd prefer to devote her energies to those issues because she can actually have some influence on those decisions. Cochran-Cohlman encourages her constituents to contact their representatives in Springfield to address statewide issues, and to contact her concerning issues in Livingston County.
In other business, the board heard and approved a vareity of financial reports, heard a presentation from Jennifer Smith of Enbridge energy about that company's future plans for the area, and saw an appearance from Regional Superintendent of Schools Mark Jontry with some area school administrators. They fielded questions from board members concerning the proposed county-wide sales tax that will appear on the April ballot.