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First Adjournment in Sight

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
This was a busy week for the legislature as each chamber worked on their versions of the budget and tax plans. On Tuesday the House passed out their version of a tax plan with the Senate waiting till Thursday to pass their budget. The differences are significant and each chamber will need to negotiate a final budget with an ending balance of 7.5 percent. The Kansas House will look to keep the 4 cents of the penny sales tax that was to expire on June 30, 2013, to back fill the Kansas Department of transportation. This is a revenue increase to help fill the income tax hole created in 2012. It has become tradition to use the Kansas Department of Transportation as a piggy bank to shore up state general funds, and many were concerned that this was an end around to accomplish just that. But in the end the House decided that keeping 4 cents and scuttling the remaining 6 cents while cutting certain income tax deductions was the best course of action to take. The Senate tax plan raises $316 million in FY 2014 by keeping the 1-cent sales tax and phasing out income tax deductions. The Senate version also has income tax cuts.

Quick Take:

On Monday, March 25 the KBA, and the Kansas County and District Attorney Association will co-host the second Lunch and Learn with Lawyer-Legislators at the Kansas Capitol. This event allowed lawyer-legislators to receive 1.0 hour of CLE credit without leaving the Capitol. Many thanks to the Capitol staff and to Rep. Rob Bruchman for making this event possible.

 

First Adjournment is literally right around the corner. The legislature will work on the floor till Wednesday then take a four-day weekend, returning on Monday to finish out the session. Budget and tax work will be pushed off till the Veto Session, which begins on May 8.

 

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, was amended on the House floor and recommended for passage and passed the Kansas Senate 40-0 (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015, marital property, both bills have been recommended favorable for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee and passage is probable (KBA supports both bills);
  • HB 2166, medical assistance recovery act, was passed as amended by the Kansas House 112-11. The KBA Title Standards Committee provided the amending language that Rep. Blaine Finch used to clarify the lien priority status. (KBA was neutral on this bill but for the floor amendment);
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was placed on the Senate Consent Calendar as an uncontroversial bill; passage appears imminent. (KBA supported this bill); and
  • HB 2398, relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, was given a hearing on Monday, March 18 but the House Judiciary Committee will hold this bill over to 2014. (KBA introduced 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 (KBA supports the surcharge but is neutral on docket fee reorganization);
  • HB 2338, judicial branch docket fee;
  • 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. This bill was recommended favorable for passage by the Committee on Appropriations.

 

Senate Sub. for HB 2141, concerning public funds, lobbyists, was recommended for passage by the Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government. Originally this bill would have prohibited the use of public funds to lobby the legislature or to pay for membership dues to an association that lobbies the legislature. This language was struck and replaced with a reporting requirement. This new language can be found at http://bit.ly/SubforHB2141_ReportingLobbyist.

 

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

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