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HB 2019 on its way to the Governor's Desk

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Last week saw several very large issues come up for debate in both chambers. The Kansas House worked and passed three gun rights bill, including one allowing open carry in the Capitol. The Kansas Senate debated the tax bill, which included the extension of the sales tax. But for lawyers the most significant vote came on Wednesday when the Kansas Senate voted to pass HB 2019. As we can all recall, HB 2019 eliminate s the current method for selecting Court of Appeal judges and replaces it with the federal model of governor appoint with consent of the senate. HB 2019 made its way to the Senate floor after bypassing the hearing stage in the Kansas Senate. Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) carried the bill, which was passed on a final action vote of 28-12. HB 2019 is on pace to be the first bill signed into law this year. This issue has received a fair amount of statewide attention. Attached are a few editorials, letter to the editors, and news articles on the topic.

Quick Take:

HB 2019 was passed by the Kansas Senate 28-12. Below is report of how each senator voted on this very important KBA issue.

On roll call, the vote was: Yeas, 28; Nays, 12:

Yeas: Abrams, Apple, Arpke, Bowers, Bruce, Denning, Donovan, Fitzgerald, Holmes, Kerschen, King, Knox, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Masterson, Melcher, O'Donnell, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, Smith, Tyson, and Wagle.

Nays: Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, McGinn, Pettey, V. Schmidt, and Wolf.

In addition to efforts to reform the judicial system the Kansas Senate has been working on its tax package. The big issues are the sales tax increase, home mortgage interest deductions, and real estate tax deductions; The Senate voted to keep the sales tax at it current level. This was a major change from the position staked out three years ago when the sales tax increase went into effect. Eleven senators who voted against the sales tax when it was first passed voted to keep it this time around. See http://cjonline.com/news/state/2013-03-14/sixteen-gop-senators-flip-support-elevated-sales-tax.

 

However, the Senate did agree to a tiered reduction of the home mortgage interest deduction and keep the charitable contributions deduction. The Kansas House is not as amenable to keep the sale’s tax at its current level and they look to deal with budget shortfalls by transferring funds from TWorks project in KDOT. More work will need to be done before a final budget is reached. Look for across the board cuts to higher education and various state agencies. Please keep in mind that this does not account for any additional spending in K-12 and if the Supreme Court upholds the recent Gannon decision the Legislature will have to find an additional $400 million. Mediation on the Gannon case will take place this fall.

 

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 favorable by the House Judiciary Committee last week with the addition of language from SB 60. (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015, marital property, received a hearing on Thursday, March 14. It was well received by the Senate Judiciary Committee and should be discussed in the coming days. (KBA supports both bill);
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, is set for a hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Room 346-S (KBA supports this bill); and
  • HB 2398, relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, is set for a hearing at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Room 112-N. The KBA drafted this proposal after a yearlong review process.

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 (KBA supports the surcharge but is neutral on docket fee reorganization);
  • 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.

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 would do is convert all classified state agency lawyers into unclassified employees; this will lessen their job protection as outline by the civil service act. The Committee on Appropriations will work this bill later this week.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart at http://ksbar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=363.

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