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First Adjournment Push Begins

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last week was a short week for legislators after coming back from a four-day break following "turnaround.” Turnaround marked the last time bills could be passed out of its House of Origins and continue through the legislative process towards the governor’s desk. However, both chambers recognize that First Adjournment is only three weeks away and they have a host of issues to resolve before they head off for spring break. The most pressing is budget and tax items, and neither side has completed the budget process. The House Committee on Appropriations continues to review subcommittee reports from various state agencies; this means a competed product is not far off. However, it has almost become tradition for both chambers to push the final budget write-up into the veto session, which starts on May 8.

Quick Take:

On Monday, March 25 the KBA and the Kansas Association of County and District Attorneys will hosted the second Lunch & Learn with Lawyer-Legislators at the Kansas Capitol. This event allows lawyer-legislators to receive 1.0 hour of ethics and professionalism CLE credit without leaving the Capitol. The KBA hopes to provide our hardworking and time-depraved lawyer-legislators with additional opportunities to receive CLE credit during the session.

 

The most pressing KBA issue is HB 2019, which eliminates the nominating commission and replaces it with a Senate confirmation process for only the Kansas Court of Appeals. Last week, HB 2019 was referred to the Committee of the Whole in the Senate, and this means HB 2019 will bypass the committee hearing process and be debated on the floor of the Kansas Senate. The Senate will convene today at 2:30 p.m. to debate on HB 2019.

 

The KBA has been following several bills and their current statuses are as follows:

  • SB 81, requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from publicly accessible records, passed out of the Kansas Senate on a 40-0 vote and is set for hearing in the House on March 11 (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, passed the Kansas House 119-0 (KBA supports this bill); and HB 2015, marital property, passed the Kansas House 116-8 (KBA supports this bill) both set for hearing in the Senate on March 13 (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2012, commission on judicial performance, sunset in 2017, did not advance out of the Kansas House;
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed the Kansas House 123-0 (KBA supports this bill); and
  • HB 2233, protective parent reform act, did not advance out of the Kansas House (KBA opposed this bill).

In addition, post-turnaround hearings focus on state budget issues. For the next several weeks we can anticipate a number of bills that set up fiscal budgets for various state agencies and for the Judicial Branch. These bills include:

  • SB 218, entire amount of docket fees shall be credited to the judicial branch docket fee fund, created in this bill, with certain exceptions; extending the judicial branch surcharge for two years;
  • HB 2338, judicial branch docket fee; and
  • HB 2377, relating to court fees and cost, judicial branch surcharge fund (KBA supports the surcharge); and Judicial Budget subcommittee report.

Interestingly, last week proposal from the Committee on Appropriations called for the diverting of attorney registration fees from the Bar Disciplinary Fund to pay for e-filing and e-courts. The proposal, introduced by Rep. Degraaf and supported by Rep. Mark Kahrs, would sweep attorney registration fees for FY 2014 and FY 2015. The two-year approach to budgeting was implemented by the governor, which accounts for the sweeps lasting two cycles. The idea is to use $1.1 million in FY 2014 and $600,000 in 2015 to complete statewide e-filing. The remainder will be used to accelerate statewide e-courts. The committee believes that accelerated e-courts will allow the Judicial Branch to experience savings sooner rather than later. There is no hard data that indicates when the savings will materialize.

 

Also of interest is HB 2384, on July 1, 2013, all new hires and state agency attorneys, supervisors and positions that perform information technology functions are unclassified; certain exceptions. What HB 2384 proposes to accomplish is the conversion of all classified state agency lawyers into unclassified employees. This will lessen their job protection as outline by the civil service act. The hearing was held on Monday, March 11. For more information, see http://cjonline.com/news/2013-03-08/committee-postpones-hearing-unclassifying-workers and the testimony both for and against this bill at http://ksbar.org/associations/13344/files/Proctor_HB2384Testimony.pdf.

 

Finally, the Kansas Revised Limited Liability Companies Act proposal crafted by the KBA has been introduced into the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs; it is listed as HB 2398. This bill is not online yet but should be by tomorrow. No hearing is set but I am working with the chair to schedule a hearing for the week of March 18.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart online at http://bit.ly/KBABillTrackingChart.

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