The Kansas Legislature returned last Monday, January 12 to a rather uneventful week. The primary goal of legislators and committees was to acquaint themselves with chamber rules, committee assignments, and new staff members. However, there were some distress over the current fiscal struggles of the state and most were eager to hear the governor’s budget proposal. Those proposals were released last Friday.
The big points are a slowing of the income tax cuts, bonding of $1.5 billion for KPERS, block grants to school district, requires school district to pay employer portion of KPERS, taxing cigarettes and alcohol and keeping Judicial Branch funding flat for FY 15-17. You can find this information at http://budget.ks.gov/gbr.htm. This includes fiscal year 2015 allotment plan and fiscal year 2016-17 budget proposal. The legislature will now take up these proposals and decide which, if any, go into effect.
See the following articles for budget proposal reactions.
The other big news was Gov. Sam Brownback’s State of the State address. Those remarks are attached here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/jan/15/text-gov-sam-brownbacks-2015-state-state-address/
The governor did call for changes to the merit selection process. He discussed election of appellate judges or the use of the federal model.
Next week looks to be very busy with Chief Justice Lawton Nuss giving the State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday, January 21 at 12:30 p.m. A live webcast of the address is available by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website.
The KBA will give an overview of the merit selection process next Thursday, January 22 in House Judiciary. Former Rep. Lance Kinzer and Professor Stephen Ware are slated to speak.
Finally the KBA is currently monitoring the following bills. Pay special attention to SB 15 dealing with docket fees on dispositive motions. This is an expansion of the new summary judgment docket fee passed last session.
These bills were introduced this week and have been forwarded to the KBA Section listed for comment. I have also downloaded this information on the section webpage.
For more information visit the KBA website at www.ksbar.org.