Legislators got very little down in week 7. The big news was the confirmation hearing of Kathryn Gardner and the release of the K-12 funding block grant proposal.
The Gardner confirmation was straightforward with little controversy. The two-day confirmation saw only five of the 11 senators on the committee even ask a question. Two of which only asked one question. Gardner had several character witnesses testify in her favor. In the end, the committee recommended that Gardner be confirmed on a voice vote with no opposition. Gardner now moves to the full Kansas Senate for final confirmation. Unless something dramatic or unanticipated happen,s Gardner’s confirmation to the Kansas Court of Appeals is a mere formality.
Chairman John Barker had set HCR 5013 for hearing next Wednesday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. in House Judiciary Committee. HCR 5013 would alter the Supreme Court Nominating Commission by allowing attorneys to elect four members, the governor to appoint five members, and the legislature to appoint six members., However, Barker has decided to pull the bill and cancel the hearing. No word if he will reschedule or not.
The KBA will testify on five bills next week. These include:
HB 2101 would be a new section in the Uniform Trust Code that makes ADR provisions enforceable. The KBA testified in support of this bill. HB 2101 passed out of the House 121-0.
HB 2109 clarifies the transfer of ownership in property when the grantor issues a transfer of death deed naming two or more beneficiaries. The bill is designed as an anti-lapse provision allowing the property to vest in the beneficiary’s surviving heirs should the beneficiary die prior to the record owner grantor. HB 2109 passed the House 121-0.
As for the judicial budget, both the House and Senate subcommittees reviewed the numbers this week. The Senate made one big recommendation, which was to force the judicial branch to self-fund KPERS to the tune of $800,000. The House had some policy recommendations including the repeal of one judge per county and to use the weighted caseload study to determine who gets furloughed first should furloughs be required. Both policy recommendations came from Rep. Craig McPherson, a Johnson County republican.
Finally, the school financing proposal is being called the CLASS Act! Hearings are set for Monday and Tuesday next week in House Appropriations Committee beginning at 9 a.m.