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Governor Signs Merit Selection Reform Bill

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Legislators had a short week as they push toward First Adjournment, which is set for April 5. Both chambers continue to hammer out budget details and try to figure out a tax plan that will cover the projected budget hole. The real telling point of the state’s fiscal health is the April Consensus Revenue Estimates. Presently the executive branch is taking a "prepare for the worse, hope for the best approach” when they discuss the FY 2014 budget. The governor’s staff has already come out with a statement saying that failure to pass the sale’s tax extension will lead to further cuts. See http://bit.ly/cjonline_brownback_salestax.

 

On Wednesday, March 27, Gov. Sam Brownback signed HB 2019, which reforms the method of selecting Kansas Court of Appeal judges. This action makes Kansas only the third state in the country to have dual methods of selecting its appellate level judges and justices. See http://bit.ly/judicialselection_nj.

 

HB 2019 becomes effective on July 1, 2013. The governor will be able to appoint a judge to the Court of Appeals later this year should funding for the 14th judge be approved by the legislature. At the present moment there appears to be enough money to make this happen.

Quick Take:

Attendees included (l-r): Sen. Julia Lynn (R-Olathe); Rep. Shanti Ghandi (R-Topeka); Rep. Mark Kahrs (R-Wichita); Hon. Anthony Powell; Rep. Jerry Lunn (R-Overland Park); Speaker of the House Ray Merrick (R-Stillwell); Gov. Sam Brownback; Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park); Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth); Rep. Charles Macheers (R-Shawnee); Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe); Rep. Keith Esau (R-Olathe); Sen. Mitch Holmes (R- St. John); Secretary of State Kris Kobach; Rep. John Rubin (R-Kansas City); Rep. Troy Waymaster (R-Luray); and Sen. Terry Bruce (R-Nickerson).

 

The governor held a press conference prior to the bill signing and it may be viewed at http://bit.ly/brownback_pressconf. You may also view the press release online at http://bit.ly/brownback_pressrelease.

 

Reaction to the first bill signing of the 2013 session has been quick. The following articles discuss the change to merit selection:

Besides the bill signing the KBA has been tracking conference committee work this week. The KBA continues to monitor the budget conference committee, which will determine if attorney registration fees are swept into the state general fund (SGF), if docket fees will be swept into the state general fund, if the Kansas Judicial Council will be fully funding (current recommendations is to cut 30K for FY 2014 and FY 2015), and to determine how e-filing is funded (with SGF funds or attorney registration fees).

 

In addition, the KBA is tracking the Judiciary Conference Committee as they work through the following bills:

  • HB 2204, dealing with redemption of real property;
  • SB 20, dealing with poverty affidavits;
  • HB 2164, relating to citizen grand juries and jury service;
  • SB 122, dealing with electronic service of process; and
  • SB 124, pertaining to the Kansas restraint of trade act.

The KBA is also tracking the Senate Judiciary and House Corrections Conference Committee as they work through bills dealing with criminal acts. Please be advised that these bills primarily deal with sentencing grid, statute of limitations of rape cases, and all the death penalty bills.

 

KBA-sponsored or supported bills include:

  • 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, HB 2015, marital property. were recommended favorable for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee; passage is probable (KBA supports both bills).
  • HB 2166, medical assistance recovery act, was passed as amended by the Kansas House. The KBA Title Standard Committee provided the amending language that Rep. Blaine Finch used to clarify the lien priority status and the Kansas House approved this bill 112-11 (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).
  • 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).

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

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