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First Adjournment Update

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Kansas Legislature reached First Adjournment mid-afternoon on April 7. This deadline effectively kills any bill not already passed by at least one chamber. Of course, there are exceptions and those are very similar to the exceptions used after Turnaround (House Appropriations, Senate Ways & Means, Tax etc.). The plan is to return on May 1 to pass a tax plan, to set the budget for FY18 & FY19 and finalize a school finance formula with a revenue stream. None of these are easily accomplished and many forecast an extended Veto Session.

 

The Kansas Legislative Research Department has complied a listing of those bills that have already passed the legislature and been signed into law by the governor.  To review these new laws please visit the following link: http://bit.ly/2oaEqc9.

 

JUDICIAL BUDGET

 

On the judicial branch front, I am happy to report that HB 2041—extending the judicial branch surcharge fund—passed both chambers, but the Senate amended the bill to include parts of HB 2053 dealing with debts owed the courts and the process for collecting those debts. HB 2041 as amended will now be voted on as a conference committee report.

HB 2041              Extending the judicial branch surcharge fee, courts costs and fees

HB 2279[JM1]     DUI Reinstatement Fee

 

In addition, the judicial branch required an extension of the DUI reinstatement fee to help fund its budget. The court receives a percentage of the fees collected for reinstatement of a driver’s license after the conviction of a DUI; this amounts to nearly 950K. The House passed this bill on April 7 on a 72-52 vote. The concern was that the increase of $41 was too great and would merely increase the instances of driving while suspended.

 

The remaining judicial budget issues concern personnel increases. For its part, the Kansas Senate passed SB 189 giving all state employees a 2% 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. There is a push to limit these increases to nonjudicial personnel.

SB 189          Appropriations for FY17, FY18 & FY19

JUDICIARY CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

 

The Judiciary Conference Committee consists of six members: the chair, vice-chair and ranking minority members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. The Senate members are Sen. Richard Wilborn (chair), Sen. Julia Lynn (vice-chair) and Sen. David Haley (ranking minority). The House is represented by Rep. Blaine Finch (chair), Rep. Fred Patton (vice-chair) and Rep. John Carmichael (ranking minority).

 

The conference committee negotiated 12 bills that passed both chambers but with differences that had to be reconciled. These bills are considered “bills in conference”. The conference committee also discussed bills that have only passed one chamber. These bills are referred to as “conference-able” bills. The committee can bundle bills that meet a subject matter requirement, including those bills passed by only one chamber.

 

The judiciary conference committee considered and agreed to combine SB 50 and contents of HB 2397 during conference. House Sub for SB 50, as amended, would create an unconscionable act or practice under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act related to the unauthorized practice of law, and amend law regarding membership of the Advisory Committee to the Kansas Commission on Interstate Cooperation and the Joint Committee on Special Claims Against the State.

 

House sub for SB 50 passed the KS Senate 38-0 and waits for approval by the Kansas House during Veto Session.

House Sub for SB 50          Creating an unconscionable act for the unauthorized practice of law and allowing the Senate president to appoint a non-lawyer to certain advisory committees

 

KBA PROPOSALS

 

The KBA introduced four bills this session. To date all have had at least one hearing but none have been passed by both chambers.  

 

The House Judiciary Committee had significant concerns about HB 2127 dealing with Transfer on Death Deeds, and it may be referred to the Kansas Judicial Council for study.

HB 2127          Transfer on Death Deed

 

Both of our proposals dealing with arbitration passed the Kansas House. However, HB 2186 – Enacting the Uniform Arbitration Act was amended to include a teacher due-process provision. The House passed the amendment 66-59 and then passed the bill 72-53. The Senate was not interested in debating the teacher due process issue so HB 2186 remains below the line and will not be considered this session.

 

HB 2126 dealing with ADR in trust instruments also remains below the line in the Kansas Senate due to a growing concern that democrats would try to amend the teacher due process provision into it. This proposal has passed the Kansas house twice now both times on near perfect votes, 124-0 & 122-0.

HB 2126          ADR & Meditation in Trust instruments

HB 2186          Enacting the uniform arbitration act of 2000

 

Finally, HB 2125 passed the Kansas House 124-1 but failed to get out of the Senate judiciary committee. Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook had ideological concerns about benefit corporations. However, I am happy to report that this bill was discussed and agreed to in judicial conference committee. The language in the bill was removed and placed into Sen Sub for HB 2153. It will be voted on during the Veto Session.

HB 2125          Benefit corporations

 

KBA Engagement

 

The KBA engaged on the following bills:

 

SB 10 failed to move forward due to an amendment expanding the offending language to include any lien filed against the “public” instead of merely “public officials”.

SB 10          Lien filings against public officials; prohibitions; notice; criminal penalties.

 

HB 2101 failed to be passed out by House judiciary committee.

HB 2101          Abolishing common law marriage

 

Rep. Steven Becker (R-Buhler) and Rep. Boog Highberger (D-Lawrence) introduced a bill to repeal major portions of a law passed last year allowing the Kansas Secretary of State to certify the list of attorneys registered with the court. Many lawyers are concerned that their personal information (home address, SSN, etc.) could be compromised. This bill will undo those requirements and remove the KSSOS from the equation. This bill failed to be passed by House Judiciary.

HB 2245          Attorney licensure and information, supreme court nominating commission, judicial nominating commission

 

SB 63, as amended, would enact the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (2015). The Act would authorize access to digital assets by four common types of fiduciaries. Specifically, the Act would apply to: A fiduciary acting under a will or power of attorney executed on or after July 1, 2017; a personal representative acting for a decedent who died before, on, or after July 1, 2017; a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding commenced before, on, or after July 1, 2017; and a trustee acting under a trust created before, on, or after July 1, 2017. SB 63 was approved by the governor on April 4, 2017.

SB 63          Enacting the revised uniform fiduciary access to digital assets act

 

SB 86 as amended, would amend the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) regarding fees charged for public records, who may request and inspect public records in Kansas, the format of minutes kept at meetings of state legislative and administrative bodies and agencies, and the exemption for criminal investigation records in KORA. This bill is a concern to our Title Standard Committee as it limits access to public records to Kansas citizens. There are currently no plans to work the bill.

SB 86          Kansas open Records act and openness in government


 [JM1]

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