The big news that came out Friday afternoon when the Department of Revenue reported that Kansas had missed its projected revenue estimates by over $47 million. This probably means that the legislature needs to rework the rescission bill aimed at keeping Kansas in the black through June 30. See http://cjonline.com/news/2015-01-30/revenue-falls-47-million-short-january.
The judicial branch might get caught up in the budget black hole but the Senate Judiciary Committee, under Chairman King, is trying to move forward. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearing for the three judicial budget bills. These bills include the following:
There were no official opponents but each conferee made clear that these proposals were necessary to keep court doors open this fiscal year but state general funds should be used to properly, fully fund the judicial branch. The poor revenue numbers will most likely kill any idea of returning funding for the judicial branch back to state general funds.
SB 44, transferring e-filing funds to the docket fee fund for operations, was also placed into the recession bill. See
This will ensure that the funds are available this fiscal year. You can find this testimony on the KBA website at http://www.ksbar.org/judicialservices.
The other big news was the nomination of Kathryn Gardner to fill the vacant Kansas Court of Appeal position left by Caleb Stegall. The press conference was rather short, the nominee and governor declined to take any questions, and rather sparsely attended. We look forward to learning more about Ms. Gardner during the senate confirmation process.
Next week looks to be a very busy week for the KBA with five hearings on KBA supported bills. On Monday Tim O’Sullivan will testify on two probate and trust bills that the KBA drafted. They include:
On Tuesday, the KBA will submit written testimony for three other bills:
Besides testifying the KBA will be watching both judiciary committees when they move bills out of committee. The Senate Judiciary looks to pass out the judicial budget bills while it is rumored that the House Judiciary will work the merit selection proposals. Hopefully these issues will get the attention they deserve before the budget discussion drowns out all other noise.