House Bill 396 (Reps. Hottinger, Dodd), a bill to authorize a board of county commissioners to appropriate funds to 501(c)(3) organizations that serve a community purpose, aims to resolve a locally generated legal opinion on county authority, according to its sponsors. Dodd said the bill “supports the belief that local government is the best government because it reaffirms the role of commissioners as stewards of tax dollars, and reaffirms the accountability that commissioners have to their constituents: either the money is given to charitable organizations for legitimate purposes that benefit the county, or the voters will hold those commissioners responsible at the ballot box for wasting taxpayer dollars.”

Hottinger said the language would extend to counties the same authority townships currently hold in regards to appropriating funds for certain nonprofit groups. The bill potentially could be amended to allow counties to audit the nonprofits they are funding.