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Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

About the Author

Joseph N. Molina III
Legislative Services Director


The Kansas Legislature looks to close out the first half of the session in grand style by working nearly 50 bills before the deadline hits. The legislature pushed up this pivotal deadline to bank days upon their return. Not being discussed is the Gannon equity decision, Medicare Expansion or closing the LLC loophole. But don’t be surprised if someone tried to work these into a debate on the floor through amendment.

Last week the KBA testified against another proposal to alter merit selection, HCR 5013. The hearing took place in House Judiciary with the Kansas chamber supporting the change. HCR 5013 would change the composition of the nominating commission to include four elected lawyers (per congressional district), five appointees from the governor and six legislators ( speaker appoints two, Senate president appoints two and the minority party appoints two).

The Kansas chamber supports altering the nominating commission over partisan elections because elections can be very expensive. Opposing HCR 5013 was Matt Keenan, Supreme Court Nominating Commission member, Lynn Johnson for Kansas Association for Justice (KSAJ), Nathan Leadstrom for Kansas Association of Defense Counsel (KADC), Natalie Haag for the KBA and Kathy Ostrowski for Kansans for Life. Kansans for Life strenuously opposed HCR 5013 because they feel the nominating commission is the worst selection process. They support the governor-appoint model, which failed 68-53 last week, or partisan elections which the Kansas chamber strongly opposes.

There is no time table for the committee to work HCR 5013.

The House Judiciary Committee did pass out of committee HB 2652 which increases the number of judicial district nominees to no less than three to no more than five. The committee did place HB 2652 into House Sub for SB 128. So moving forward the bill to watch for this proposal is House sub for SB 128.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed out the Supreme Court authority over the judicial branch bill (SB 440) and the docket fee bill (SB 454). The issue is Sen. Forrest Knox made an amendment to add SB 439 language into SB 440. SB 439 is the impeachment of judges and justices bill which did not get a hearing and was not discussed at any point this session. Sen. Mitch Holmes attempted to add this language last year on the Senate floor, but it was found to be non-germane. This year they bypassed that issue by placing it into a bill in committee.

The Senate Judiciary also passed out two family law bills of interest to family law practitioners. The first is SB 393, which makes domestic violence a primary factor in determining child custody and parenting time. The second was the CARE pilot program for foster care families, SB 410.

Finally, the KBA testified on three other bills this week. They include the following:

Bill Description Section Status

HB 2642

Planning and zoning; platted lots subdivided; notice and public hearing

Real Estate


HB 2649

Kansas Energy Efficiency Act

Title Standard


SB 425

Conservation easements

Real Property


With the turnaround deadline moved up nearly a week, it seems unlikely that these bills will survive the deadline. However, there may still be time to have the bills “blessed” by referring them to an exempt committee. Should that happen, please look for updates in The Advocate.

One interesting bill did pop up late last week as SB 467, which deals with attorney advertisement, was introduced into Senate Way and Means Committee. This bill prohibits a non-Kansas attorney from soliciting Kansas residents. A similar idea was floated a few years ago, but it failed to gain traction.

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