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First Adjournment

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, April 06, 2015
The 2015 legislative session reached a major milestone a full day early when legislators gaveled out for First Adjournment on Thursday, April 2. The deadline was set for April 3, but with little movement on the budget, leadership wanted to bank the extra day for the veto session. The Legislature has pushed off the large items so the extra day will come in handy.


Some big bills did pass both chambers prior to the end of the regular session. The constitutional carry bill probably got the most press with equal amounts of praise and concern. See


Fiscally, the Legislature passed out a major piece of Gov. Brownback’s revenue plan by passing a KPERS bill allowing the state to bond out $1 billion dollars. This will save the state around $60 million in the short term, but cost much more in interest going forward.


The rest of the revenue/tax plan is still up in the air. Even the governor is stepping away from his proposal to increase taxes on cigarettes/alcohol.


This makes things very dicey since the proposed state budget is around $200 million in the red. To get to a balanced budget, more cuts will have to be made (hard to do with school finance/KPERS off the table now) or raise some type of tax somewhere. Just a quick side note – revenue for March was down another $11 million. See


On the judicial branch front, not much has been done to pass the court budget. The judicial branch budget is stuck in the Senate as of now. The bill now contains policy language linking voluntary local judicial district budget controls to funding. Some have said tying the policy provisions, which include a non-severability clause, to the FY16/FY17 judicial budgets is a shot at the Solomon lawsuit in south-central Kansas. See


How the judicial budget evolves from here might also depend on if the three-judge panel enjoins the school finance block grant passed earlier this year. See; see also


The Legislature has already responded with a warning shot should the three-judge panel make the school finance issue a hot topic again. Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-St. John) proposed a bill increasing the reasons a Kansas Supreme Court justice could be impeached. SB 297 would allow the House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment for a variety of transgressions, including failure to adequately supervise subordinate employees (think the law clerk who tweeted about the Kline disciplinary hearing) and attempting to subvert fundamental laws and introduce arbitrary power (think school finance). The Senate would be the judge/jury should article of impeachment be passed by the House.


This is not the only bill aimed at the judicial branch this session. Below are just a few more that either affect the selection of judges/justices, attempts to alter the operations of the court, or deals with funding the judiciary. The KBA will monitor these bills very closely during the Wrap-Up Session.

Judicial Selection

Court Operations

Judicial Budget

Legislators will return on Wednesday, April 29 to finalize the state budget, pass a tax bill, and tie up any other loose ends. The general thought is this process may take some time and look for a mid-May adjournment, if not later.

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