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Turnaround Action

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 08, 2016

About the Author


Joseph N. Molina III
Legislative Services Director

KansasBarLeg

Last week was a short week for legislators as they returned from First Adjournment break to begin the second half of the session.  Legislators began serious consideration of issues on Thursday with both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in action.

The bulk of the work came from the Senate Judiciary Committee as they heard four bills on Thursday which included:

SB 439

Grounds for impeachment of judges and justices

SB 467

Prohibiting certain lawyers from advertising in Kansas

Sub HB 2062

Uniform Commercial Code Article 9

 

SB 439 dealing with impeachment of justices and judges was the most contentious of issues.  Proponents of the bill included Sen. Greg Smith (Vice-Chair of Senate Judiciary) and Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-St. John). I have attached their testimony.  The main crux of the debate was whether SB 439 expanded the grounds for impeachment.  Proponents argued that the bill merely defined the grounds for impeachment while opponents argued that the bill was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers doctrine.

Opponents of the bill included the KBA, Pedro Irigonegaray, Kansas Association for Justice (KSAJ), Kansas Association of Defense Council (KADC) and the Kansas District Judges Association. 

There appears to be enough support from the committee to recommend SB 439 favorably. The question now becomes whether the Senate as a whole wants to deal with another controversial issue.

SB 467 is an interesting bill dealing with non-Kansas licensed lawyers advertising in Kansas.  The bill was supported by Mark Hutton of the Hutton & Hutton LLC out of Wichita.  The main issue for Hutton was the protection of consumers who are unaware they maybe dealing with an attorney not licensed in Kansas. 

Opponents of SB 467 believe the bill violated the First Amendment and that proper remedies exist within the Kansas Supreme Court.

Senate Sub of HB 2062 is a carryover bill from last session.  This bill is highly technical and concerns electronic fund transfers governed by the UCC Article 9.  The KBA, along with the Kansas Bankers, introduced the bill and worked for its passage.  We are confident that the bill will be recommended favorably by the committee and pass the Senate.  At that point it will go to the governor’s desk for approval.

The House Judiciary heard only one bill this week but it was an important bill dealing with salary adjustments for judges and non-judicial staff.  Thirteen organizations testified in support of the bill, including the KBA.  The committee was very critical of raises for judges who currently make in excess of $100,000 (with an exception for magistrate judges) but were more likely to support non-judicial staff increases.

However, with the current fiscal outlook for the state ($53 million below expectation for February) it is highly unlikely that anything gets done this session.  On the positive side, the conversation has begun and interested parties can work toward a resolution once the financial issue is resolved.

HB 2704

Judicial Branch Salaries of judges and justices, appropriations for FY 17

 

The KBA’s Corporation Code update has finally been completed and is ready for hearing.  The bill is tentatively set for hearing on Thursday, March 17 at 3:30 p.m.  Bill Matthews and company will testify on behalf of the KBA.

HB 2713

Amending the Kansas General Corp Code

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