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Halfway Home!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Kansas Legislature has reached the turnaround deadline, a major milestone in the legislative session. Turnaround is the date upon which each piece of legislation must pass out of its house of origin (the chamber in which the legislation was first introduced). If the legislation fails to gain approval from its house of origin, it is dead for the remainder of the session and must wait till 2018 before it can be proposed again.

As with every rule, there are exceptions, and the turnaround deadline is not immune. For example, legislation not approved by its house of origin may survive if it was “blessed” by being referred to an exempt committee. Exempt committees include: House Appropriations, Senate Ways and Means, House and Senate Federal and State Affairs and House Taxation. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees are not exempt committees.

As expected, a significant number of proposals fell by the wayside last week, allowing legislators to focus on the second act of the session which begins March 6.

HB 2178

Concerning income taxation, relating to determination of Kansas adjusted gross income, rates and itemized deductions

The basics of the proposed tax plan are that retroactive to January 1, 2017, Kansas would revert back to a three-bracket tax system and halt the income tax reduction schedule. The tax plan debate generated a lot of headlines, mostly because the house passed it without question or debate. The house approved the tax plan 76-48, which was not a veto-proof margin. The senate then passed the bill 22-18. As you probably are aware, Gov. Brownback vetoed the legislation, forcing both chambers to attempt a veto override. The Kansas House was able to gain the necessary votes to override the veto on a 85-40 count. The vote tally can be found here: Sub HB2178.

The senate was not able to round up the 27 votes needed to override the governor’s veto, falling three votes short on a 24-16 vote. The senate roll can be found here: Sub HB2178

Although the override failed, the big news is the ability of moderate Republicans and Democrats to coalesce around an important statewide issue. The numbers prove that conservative leadership does not hold favor over either chamber. To move forward, leadership will need to be willing to compromise.

HB 2154

Expanding Medicaid

Another significant vote was the move to amend Medicaid Expansion into a germane bill in the house. This is important because early last week House Health and Human Services committee voted to table the issue. However, house democrats were able to add the provision into a related bill being debated. After several hours of debate, sometimes heated, moderates and democrats joined forces to pass the amendment on an 81-44 vote.

Conservatives who oppose Medicaid expansion will have to rely on the senate to kill the bill or on the governor to veto the measure.

HB 2126

ADR & Meditation in Trust instruments

This KBA proposal passed the house Committee of the Whole unanimously on a 124-0 vote. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2186

Enacting the uniform arbitration act of 2000

Larry Rute also testified for the KBA on HB 2186 revising the Uniform Arbitration Act of 2000. This bill was debated by the House COW and amended when Rep. Stogsdill (D-Prairie Village) offered to include a provision dealing with teachers’ due process rights. The amendment was determined to be germane to the underlying bill because HB 2186 amended arbitration statutes, and teachers’ due process rights would be subject to these new laws. After more than 2 hours of debate the amended measure passed 68-57.

See; House advances bill restoring teacher tenure

HB 2125

Benefit corporations

HB 2125 has been approved by the KS House on a 124-1 vote. The sole NO vote was cast by Rep. Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita).

HB 2279

Disposition of Driver’s License reinstatement fees and the judicial branch nonjudicial salary adjustments fund

HB 2279 was heard yesterday in House Appropriations. Under current law, the Judicial Branch receives 33% of reinstatement fees. If HB 2279 is not passed, this fee will sunset, and the Judicial branch will be out around $950,000. These funds have been assumed in the FY18 & FY19 Judicial Budget request. Should the bill not pass, the courts face a significant budget cut.

HB 2041

Extending the judicial branch surcharge fee, courts costs and fees

HB 2041 was passed by the House Committee of the Whole, 122-0 and has already been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The KBA continues to support this legislation.

HB 2365

Judicial branch budget FY18 & FY19

SB 190

Making appropriations for the FY18 and FY19 judicial branch

These two bills are the judicial branch stand-alone budgets for the next two fiscal years. The judicial budget has already been folded into the Mega-Appropriations bill, but should it be stripped out, the Judicial Branch can fall back on these two measures.

SB 10

Lien filings against public officials; prohibitions; notice; criminal penalties.

The KBA worked with the Kansas Land Title Association and the Kansas Attorney General’s office on SB 10. The original language of the bill contained a provision criminalizing the filing of certain liens filed on public officials. The KBA negotiated with KLTA and the KSAG on a compromise amendment that satisfied all parties. However, when the amendment was added to the bill, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook expanded the protection against such liens from “public officials” only, to the “public” in general. The KBA finds this substantive change unacceptable. As such, the KBA Title Standard Committee opposes the bill. The KLTA and the KBA sent a letter to Senators opposing the amended bill. Prior to debate, SB 10 was referred to an exempt committee.

HB 2101

Abolishing common law marriage

This bill failed to survive the turnaround deadline.

HB 2245

Attorney licensure and information, supreme court nominating commission, judicial nominating commission

This bill also failed to survive the Turnaround deadline.

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