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Bill to block sale of North Kansas City Hospital heads to governor

Updated: 2013-04-26T01:11:07Z

By JASON HANCOCK

The Star's Jefferson City correspondent

— The Missouri House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation that aims to stop any possible sale of North Kansas City Hospital.

The bill, which includes numerous unrelated provisions, also received unanimous approval in the Senate this week. It now heads to the governor.

If Gov. Jay Nixon signs the bill into law, the hospital could not be sold without approval from the hospital’s board of trustees and the City Council and a vote of the people.

“The public is adamantly opposed to selling the hospital,” said Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican who sponsored the legislation. “My goal was to ensure their voices are heard in the process.”

Last summer, the North Kansas City Council hired a New York investment bank for advice on a possible sale. The hospital’s board of trustees sued, arguing that the city doesn’t have the authority to sell the facility.

Even though the hospital was built more than 50 years ago with the help of property tax revenue and city bonds, it has received no funds from the city for decades, and North Kansas City doesn’t receive funds from the hospital.

The city has denied that it has any intention of selling the hospital, but it hired a team of lobbyists to fight the legislation.

The hospital issue already has had repercussions in city politics. Donald Stielow handily defeated Mayor Bill Biggerstaff earlier this month following a campaign that focused on the hospital issue.

Until the governor officially takes action on the bill, Silvey said he and Rep. Jay Swearingen, a North Kansas City Democrat, will continue to attach the hospital provision to other legislation to ensure it becomes law.

To reach Jason Hancock, call 573-634-3565 or send email to jhancock@kcstar.com.

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