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Judicial Branch Budget Issues – First Adjournment

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017

There are only five days left until First Adjournment, which means committee meetings are over and most work will take place on the floor of either chamber or in conference committees involving members of both chambers.

The judicial branch budget continues to be unresolved. As it currently stands, none of the judicial branch budget requests have been passed. HB 2041, the judicial surcharge extension, has been referred to the judicial conference committee, and the senate still has HB 2279, DUI reinstatement fees, below the line for debate. The senate passed over HB 2279 yesterday due to a new $25 fee added to the bill. If the DUI reinstatement bill is not passed, the judicial branch is looking at a $950,000 shortfall.

Most pressing is the uncertain judicial branch salary increase issue. To date, both chambers have discussed raising salaries for judicial branch employees, but there remains a concern about increasing judges’ salaries.

For their part, senators passed SB 189 last Thursday. This bill gives all state employees a two percent raise. House appropriations included a raise for judicial branch employees totaling $6 million and added approximately $840,000 in new positions related to juvenile justice.

Muddying the water is the recent revenue shortfall for March. The state was down $12 million for the month, although it is still up around $48 million for the year. Many legislators have expressed a desire to wait until the veto session before revisiting the judicial branch enhancement issue and then only if more funds become available. With the downturn in revenue for March, an April miracle seems unlikely.

The court has sent out a “Call to Action” on the judicial branch budget. Should you wish to participate, you can locate your legislators using the following links:

House of Representatives - http://www.ksbar.org/page/ks_house_map_1718

Kansas Senate - http://www.ksbar.org/page/ks_senate_map_1718

The key points to make are as follows:

Senate members

  1. Thank them for including judges and Judicial Branch employees in the two percent across-the-board salary increase.
  2. Request that they continue to hold that position, including Judicial Branch employees and judges salaries, as they negotiate in conference.
  3. Reiterate the need for judicial branch raises; and
  4. Request that they revisit the Judicial Branch request the Veto Session.

House Appropriations Committee members

  1. Thank them for including Judicial Branch employees in the $6 million salary increase and the approximately $840,000 in new positions.
  2. Thank them for their action during this time of economic challenge.
  3. Request that they continue to hold that position as they go into conference.

You can find additional information on Judicial Branch salary by visiting the following link - http://www.kscourts.org/Court-Administration/Compensation_Study/index.html

 

Bills mentioned in this article include:

HB 2279  DUI Reinstatement Fee Extension

HB 2041  Judicial Branch Surcharge Fee

SB 189    Appropriations for FY17, FY18 & FY19

 

New Stories concerning March Revenue numbers:

KWCH.com-http://www.kwch.com/content/news/Kansas-revenue-down-116-million-for-March-417974293.html

 

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