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The KBA Advocate is the weekly KBA legislative newsletter that contains up-to-date information on legislation that impacts your practice. It is only published when the legislature is in session and is sent to all KBA members electronically via the KBA Weekly.

 

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Summary of New Laws from the 2018 Legislative Session—So Far

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

 

This week we look at a few bills that have been signed by the governor. All bills will become effective July 1, 2018 unless otherwise stated. These are simple summaries drafted by the Kansas Legislative Research Department. You can find full summaries and/or the entire bill/law by visiting www.kslegilsature.org.

 

Criminal Law

Involuntary Manslaughter—DUI; Aggravated Battery—DUI; HB 2439

HB 2439 amends the definition of the crime of involuntary manslaughter to include the killing of a human being committed in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) while:

● In violation of any restriction imposed on such person’s driving privileges for DUI;

● The person’s driving privileges are suspended or revoked for DUI; or

● The person has been deemed a “habitual violator,” as defined in KSA 2017 Supp. 8-285, including at least one DUI violation.

Violation of this provision is a severity level 3, person felony. This new offense is added to the list of offenses for which juvenile records or files may not be expunged. It also is added to the list of offenses that the Department of Corrections is required to report when committed by a sex offender in the custody of the Secretary of Corrections.

Giving a False Alarm; HB 2581

HB 2581 amends law related to the crime of giving a false alarm. The common name of this proposal was the “Anti-Swatting bill”. The bill renames the offense as “making an unlawful request for emergency service assistance” and its definition is amended to include transmitting or communicating false or misleading information in any manner to request emergency service assistance, including law enforcement, fire, medical, or other emergency service knowing at the time there is no reasonable ground for believing assistance is needed.

The crime continues to be a Class A nonperson misdemeanor, except including false information that violent criminal activity or immediate threat to a person’s life or safety has or is taking place continues to be a severity level 7, nonperson felony, except in the following circumstances added by the bill:

● If bodily harm results from the response by emergency services, the offense is a severity level 6, person felony;

● Great bodily harm resulting from the response by emergency services is a severity level 4, person felony; and

● Death resulting from the response by emergency services is a severity level 1, person felony.

The bill clarifies use of an electronic device or software to alter, conceal, or disguise the source of the request or the identify of the person making such request continues to be a level 10, nonperson felony. The bill provides that it shall not be a defense that the person who suffered bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death contributed, or others contributed, to such person’s harm or death. Persons who make an unlawful request for emergency service assistance may also be prosecuted for any form of homicide.

 

Judiciary

Asbestos Trust Claims Transparency Act; HB 2457

            HB 2457 enacts the Asbestos Trust Claims Transparency Act (Act), which shall apply to all asbestos claims (as defined in the Silica and Asbestos Claims Act) filed on or after July 1, 2018.

            The bill requires the plaintiff to provide certain statements and materials no later than 30 days prior to the date the court establishes for the completion of all fact discovery. Specifically, the plaintiff is required to investigate, file all asbestos trust claims that can be made by the plaintiff, and provide a sworn statement indicating the investigation has been conducted and all possible claims filed. The plaintiff is required to provide all parties with all trust claim materials, accompanied by a custodial affidavit from the asbestos trust. If the plaintiff’s asbestos trust claim is based on exposure through another individual, the plaintiff is required to produce all trust claim documents submitted by or on behalf of the other individual to any asbestos trust to which the plaintiff has access. The bill also requires the plaintiff to supplement the information and materials within 30 days after the plaintiff, or a person on the plaintiff’s behalf, supplements an existing asbestos trust claim, receives additional information or materials related to such a claim, or files an additional asbestos trust claim.

Civil Asset Forfeiture; Kansas Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Repository; HB 2459

            HB 2459 creates, and amends law related to civil asset forfeiture, as follows.

The bill creates a new section within the Kansas Standard Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Act (SASFA) requiring the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) to establish, on or before July 1, 2019, the Kansas Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Repository (Repository), which will gather information concerning each seizure for forfeiture made by a seizing agency pursuant to SASFA. The information gathered will include, but not be limited to:

● The name of the seizing agency or name of the lead agency if part of a multijurisdictional task force and any applicable agency or district court case numbers for the seizure;

The county where and date and time the seizure occurred, a description of the initiating law enforcement activity leading to the seizure, and the specific location where the seizure occurred;

● Descriptions of the type of property and contraband seized and the estimated values of the property and contraband;

● Whether criminal charges were filed for an offense related to the forfeiture and court and case number information of such charges;

● A description of the final disposition of the forfeiture action, including any claim or exemption asserted under SASFA;

● Whether the forfeiture was transferred to the federal government for disposition;

● Total cost of the forfeiture action, including attorney fees; and

● Total amount of proceeds from the forfeiture action, specifying the amount received by the seizing agency and the amount received by any other agency or person.

The bill requires the KBI to maintain the Repository and an associated public website and requires the KBI to promulgate rules and regulations before July 1, 2019, to implement the new section.

On and after July 1, 2019, each seizing agency must report the specified information concerning each seizure for forfeiture to the Repository, with the prosecuting attorney submitting information to the seizing agency within 30 days after the final disposition of the forfeiture, and the seizing agency submitting the required information to the Repository within 60 days after the final disposition of the forfeiture.

On or before February 1 of each year, beginning in 2020, each law enforcement agency (agency) must annually compile and submit a forfeiture fund report to the Repository. If the agency is a state agency, the report must include the agency’s state forfeiture fund balance on January 1 and December 31 of the preceding calendar year and the total amount of the deposits and a listing, by category, of expenditures during the preceding calendar year. If the agency is a city or county agency, the report must include the agency’s special law enforcement trust fund balance on January 1 and December 31 of the preceding calendar year and the total amount of deposits and a listing, by category, of expenditures during the preceding calendar year.

The reports for each agency must separate and account for deposits and expenditures from proceeds from forfeiture credited to the agency’s fund pursuant to the SASFA section governing disposition of forfeited property, deposits and expenditures from proceeds from forfeiture actions under federal law, and amounts held by the agency related to pending forfeiture actions under SASFA.

Civil Immunity for Entry into Vehicle to Remove a Vulnerable Person or Domestic Animal; HB 2516

HB 2516 creates law providing for immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle for a person who enters the vehicle, by force or otherwise, to remove a vulnerable person or domestic animal, if the person entering:

● Determines the vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable method for the vulnerable person or domestic animal to exit the vehicle without assistance;

● Has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry is necessary because the vulnerable person or domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm;

● Ensures law enforcement is notified or calls 911 before or immediately after entering the vehicle;

● Uses no more force to enter the vehicle and remove the vulnerable person or domestic animal than is necessary; and

● Remains with the vulnerable person or domestic animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or a first responder arrives.

The bill defines “domestic animal” to include a dog, cat, or other animal that is domesticated and may be kept as a household pet. This does not include livestock, as defined elsewhere in statute, or other farm animals. The bill defines “vulnerable person” to mean an adult whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for such adult’s own care or protection is impaired or a minor. The bill defines “motor vehicle” by reference to the definition in the statutes governing vehicle registration.

Protection from Abuse Act; Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault Act; Transfer of Wireless Telephone Number; HB 2524

HB 2524 creates law allowing a court, at a hearing on a petition filed pursuant to the Protection from Abuse Act (PFAA) or Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault Act (PFSSAA), to issue an order directing a wireless services provider (provider) to transfer the billing responsibility for and rights to the wireless telephone number or numbers to the petitioner if the petitioner is not the account holder, to ensure the petitioner and any minor children in the care of the petitioner may maintain their existing wireless telephone numbers. The forms for the petition and order shall be prescribed by the Judicial Council and supplied by the clerk of the court.

 This order shall be a separate order directed to the provider and must list the name and billing telephone number of the account holder, the name and contact information of the person to whom the telephone number or numbers will be transferred, and each telephone number to be transferred.

If the order is made in conjunction with a PFSSAA petition, the court must ensure the petitioner’s address and telephone number are not disclosed to the account holder. If the order is made in conjunction with a petition filed under the PFAA, the court must direct that the petitioner’s information remain confidential if the court finds the petitioner’s address, telephone number, or both need to remain confidential.

 

Workers Compensation

Certain Death and Related Benefits Allowed by the Workers Compensation Act; Senate Sub. for HB 2184

Senate Sub. for HB 2184 increases certain death and related benefits allowed by the Workers Compensation Act (Act).

When an employee dies at the workplace, the Act allows for an initial payment to be shared between the surviving spouse and the dependent children. The spouse receives 50.0 percent, and the children, if applicable, receive 50.0 percent. The bill increases the initial payment from $40,000 to $60,000. After the initial payment, the Act generally allows for those dependents to receive weekly payments, subject to minimum and maximum amounts that are specified by law. Under the Act, a wholly dependent child may receive subsequent weekly benefits until the age of 18 or age of 23, provided the child is either incapable of earning wages or enrolled as a full-time student in a college or vocational institution. The bill clarifies that benefits for a dependent child 18 years old continue until May 30 of the child’s senior year of high school or until the child turns 19, whichever happens earlier. If a deceased employee leaves behind a spouse, dependent children, or both, then no other dependents or heirs may receive benefits under the Act.

The remainder of the bill revises certain minimum and maximum benefits payable for other individuals. Pursuant to the Act, other individuals who were wholly dependent upon a deceased employee’s earnings are eligible for a benefit. The bill increases the maximum benefit from $18,500 to $100,000. In situations where a deceased employee leaves behind persons who were partially dependent, the minimum benefit increases from $2,500 to $25,000, and the maximum benefit increases from $18,500 to $100,000.

The Act allows legal heirs to receive a lump-sum payment of $25,000, but they are exempt from receiving that benefit if there is a life insurance policy that was procured by an employer worth not less than $18,500 and with beneficiaries designated by the deceased employee. The bill increases the lump-sum benefit to heirs from $25,000 to $100,000. However, if the employer procured a life insurance policy in an amount not less than $50,000, then the benefit paid to the heirs is reduced by the amount of the life insurance, up to $100,000.

The maximum amount paid by the employer for burial expenses increases from $5,000 to $10,000. When a court-appointed conservator is necessary, the maximum costs paid by an employer increases from $1,000 to $2,500.

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First Adjournment!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

 

A little after 12:30 a.m. on April 8th, the Kansas Legislature gaveled out. This ended a marathon 14-hour session and closed out the 2018 regular session. All that remains is Veto Session, beginning on April 26th. The late night (or early morning, depending on your point of view) was caused by some clever political maneuvering by the Kansas Senate.

As background, both chambers have been working on a school finance plan throughout the session, and it was thought that an agreement was reached between leadership that would have a school finance plan using dollar figures important to the House with policy changes important to the Senate.

Under this agreement, the House would pass the school finance plan first, which it did 63-56. The bill, HB 423, was then enrolled with the Senate which promptly sat on it in lieu of a tax bill, S Sub for HB 2228. The tax bill is designed to return to Kansas citizens the revenue windfall the state has seen due to the federal tax law changes. Doing this will reduce the amount of revenue the state has available, making it harder to pay for the school finance plan.

Only after the tax plan was passed by the Senate did they take up the school finance plan. The late start allowed the Senate to filibuster the school finance plan since the legislature is under a hard midnight deadline when an adjournment resolution is not passed by both chambers. The adjournment resolution allows the legislature to extend the session past the 90-day mark. Without this resolution, all bills not signed by the Governor are dead, and the session adjourns Sine Die. The House finally agreed to the Senate Adjournment Resolution with under a minute left before midnight. Once this was done, the school finance votes started rolling in and SB 423 was passed 21-16.

What the school finance filibuster accomplished remains unclear, but we do know that the Veto Session will last only 8 days, making it very difficult to override any vetoes from Gov. Colyer should he decide to exercise that power. This was about as much drama as we have seen in the Kansas Legislature this session.

For what its worth, Kansas Legislative Research just uncovered an error in the school finance plan. The error omits nearly $80 million from the total amount legislators intended to appropriate. See; http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article208416824.html

Legislators are hopeful that this error can be corrected when they return.

Also still in play is HCR 5029, establishing adequacy of financing for education as exclusively within the legislative power of the state. This is an amended version from the initial resolution. The amended version points out that the legislature has the power of the purse, but the courts retain the power to review equity standards associated with school finance. The amended version also removes any mention of the courts in the explanatory section of the resolution.

Passing HCR 5029 will require a 2/3rd majority vote in both chambers. This is a hard sell in the Senate but an even more challenging proposal in the House. The Kansas House has 85 Republicans and 40 Democrats. Should the Democrats vote as a block, leadership could only spare to lose one republican vote. This is a difficult proposition since several moderate republicans have already declared their opposition to HCR 5029. How this plays out remains to be seen.

Finally, the Kansas Legislative Research Department provides a Summary of Legislation report. This report is provided in three summaries. The first summary can be found here: http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Publications/SummaryofLegislation/PreliminarySummaries/2018-preliminary-summary.pdf.

Look for the two remaining summaries in the coming weeks.

 

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First Adjournment!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2018

 

A little after 12:30 a.m. on April 8th, the Kansas Legislature gaveled out. This ended a marathon 14-hour session and closed out the 2018 regular session. All that remains is Veto Session, beginning on April 26th. The late night (or early morning, depending on your point of view) was caused by some clever political maneuvering by the Kansas Senate.

As background, both chambers have been working on a school finance plan throughout the session, and it was thought that an agreement was reached between leadership that would have a school finance plan using dollar figures important to the House with policy changes important to the Senate.

Under this agreement, the House would pass the school finance plan first, which it did 63-56. The bill, HB 423, was then enrolled with the Senate which promptly sat on it in lieu of a tax bill, S Sub for HB 2228. The tax bill is designed to return to Kansas citizens the revenue windfall the state has seen due to the federal tax law changes. Doing this will reduce the amount of revenue the state has available, making it harder to pay for the school finance plan.

Only after the tax plan was passed by the Senate did they take up the school finance plan. The late start allowed the Senate to filibuster the school finance plan since the legislature is under a hard midnight deadline when an adjournment resolution is not passed by both chambers. The adjournment resolution allows the legislature to extend the session past the 90-day mark. Without this resolution, all bills not signed by the Governor are dead, and the session adjourns Sine Die. The House finally agreed to the Senate Adjournment Resolution with under a minute left before midnight. Once this was done, the school finance votes started rolling in and SB 423 was passed 21-16.

What the school finance filibuster accomplished remains unclear, but we do know that the Veto Session will last only 8 days, making it very difficult to override any vetoes from Gov. Colyer should he decide to exercise that power. This was about as much drama as we have seen in the Kansas Legislature this session.

For what its worth, Kansas Legislative Research just uncovered an error in the school finance plan. The error omits nearly $80 million from the total amount legislators intended to appropriate. See; http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article208416824.html

Legislators are hopeful that this error can be corrected when they return.

Also still in play is HCR 5029, establishing adequacy of financing for education as exclusively within the legislative power of the state. This is an amended version from the initial resolution. The amended version points out that the legislature has the power of the purse, but the courts retain the power to review equity standards associated with school finance. The amended version also removes any mention of the courts in the explanatory section of the resolution.

Passing HCR 5029 will require a 2/3rd majority vote in both chambers. This is a hard sell in the Senate but an even more challenging proposal in the House. The Kansas House has 85 Republicans and 40 Democrats. Should the Democrats vote as a block, leadership could only spare to lose one republican vote. This is a difficult proposition since several moderate republicans have already declared their opposition to HCR 5029. How this plays out remains to be seen.

Finally, the Kansas Legislative Research Department provides a Summary of Legislation report. This report is provided in three summaries. The first summary can be found here: http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Publications/SummaryofLegislation/PreliminarySummaries/2018-preliminary-summary.pdf.

Look for the two remaining summaries in the coming weeks.

 

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The End is Nigh

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, April 2, 2018

 

Week 12 saw committee meetings end for the most part, and work begin on the floors of both chambers. The Senate passed its version of the state budget sans K12 funding. The idea is to wait until veto session before crafting the school finance fix and then see if anything is left for other increases (judicial pay raises).

The Senate also passed the Adoption Protection Act when they combined it with the Adoption & Relinquishment Act.  The KBA opposed the Adoption Protection Act and took no position on the Adoption & Relinquishment Act. The combined bill passed the Senate 28-12.

Rep. Susan Humphries did attempt to have the House concur on the Senate bill last Thursday, but that motion failed 58-64. The bill was then reconsidered so it could be sent to conference committee.  Rep. Finch, Ralph and Carmichael were appointed to the conference committee.  The KBA will monitor this conference committee closely and report back with updates.

See HB 2481 history here: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/hb2481/

The House K12 committee reported out a proposal to add another $500 million for schools over the next five years. This is far from what the study projected was needed to meet certain benchmarks but is enough to maintain current achievements. See: http://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/kansas-republican-plan-would-boost-school-spending-500-million  See: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article207210479.html

For his part, Gov. Colyer has not directly supported the $500 million school funding proposal, but he hasn’t shied away from it either. Given his previous statements on school funding, one could predict he would sign the legislation should it reach his desk. See: http://kmuw.org/post/colyer-says-house-bill-meets-his-guidelines

A constitutional amendment to limit the Supreme Court’s power has been introduced in the Kansas House. HCR 5029 states that the financing of the educational interests of this state is exclusively a legislative power and cannot be altered or revoked by any state court. The resolution is something a newly formed non-profit, Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding, discussed last week after the K12 report was released. See: https://www.facebook.com/KASB.Topeka/videos/1688552407858201/

The House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings this week for the HCR 5029. Monday is an informational hearing, Tuesday for proponents and opponents and Wednesday will allow the committee to work the bill. To pass, the House needs to approve the measure with 84 votes, the Senate with 27.

Finally, the Kansas Legislature is quickly approaching Drop Dead Day, April 6th. This marks the last day to consider bills, except those vetoed by the Governor, omnibus appropriations bills and spending bills.  Both chambers will be working on the floor and in conference committee this week.

 

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Save the Date for the KBA Golf Tournament!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, March 19, 2018
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018

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Progress

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, March 12, 2018
Things have picked up in the Capitol this first full week after Turnaround. Both chambers are hearing a serious number of bills.  House Judiciary held 5 hearings in one afternoon this past Monday, all mostly uncontroversial, but that is still a large number to run in a single day.

On the Senate side, Ways & Means Committee discussed the judicial branch budget. The Sub-Committee did not have a recommendation, so the entire committee reviewed the enhancement request en banc. There was not much appetite to pass the recommendations for increased wages out of committee.  Instead the committee decided to push the issue off till Veto Session. The thinking is that the committee will have a better understanding of revenue numbers when the April estimates are revealed.  It was mentioned in committee that judicial branch employees did get a 2.5% raise last year.

Also of note is that the FY18 Judicial Budget request was $3.5 million BELOW the FY 17 budget.  Sen. Skubal explained that the decrease was from E-filing and other efficiencies.

The committee did recommend approving the $200K for Judicial Center renovations.

House Appropriations will be holding a hearing on judicial wages for the standalone bill, HB 2689.  This bill is for wages only. The three other enhancements—added judges, staff and renovations—are not included in this bill. The KBA will SUPPORT this measure and its identical counterpart in the Senate.

Senate Judiciary will be hearing HB 2481, the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act.  This is a bill worked on by the Kansas Judicial Council Family Law Advisory Committee.

Last week, the big issue was Teacher Due Process. The Kansas House passed the Teacher Due Process bill on Thursday 73-48. The bill now heads to the Senate. While on the Senate side the SCR 1611, Convention of the States failed to gain a constitutional majority and died on the floor.

Finally, the KBA is fully engaged in the KBA Day at the Capitol event. The event is set for Monday, March 19th.  We will meet at the KBA then head over to the Capitol for legislator meetings, break for lunch with Lawyer-Legislators, continue our legislator meetings in the p.m., and end the day back at the KBA for a debriefing. We look forward to productive meeting with legislators on judicial branch budget issues.

If you would like to participate, please contact Joseph Molina at jmolina@ksbar.org

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Quiet Before the Storm

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, March 5, 2018

 

The week after the Turnaround Deadline is normally quiet as legislators settle in for the final four weeks of the session.  This year it was noticeably slow going. Only a few legislative committees had meetings, and little work was done on the floor of either chamber. 
 
Good News— it was reported yesterday that monthly revenues for February were more than $26 million above estimates. That brings the fiscal year total to more than $270 million above estimates. Some of this increase could be due to the federal tax cut but how much can be attributed to the cut is uncertain.
See — https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2018/03/01/kansas-tax-receipts-over-state-projection-for.html
See also — http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/mar/01/kansas-collects-27m-more-taxes-expected-february/ 
And see — https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kansas/articles/2018-03-01/kansas-collects-27m-more-in-taxes-than-expected-in-february
 
Bad News— Kansas suffered from another IT information breach, this time from KDADS.  It was reported that social security numbers and home addresses were sent to unauthorized businesses, but no banking information was compromised. The release of personal electronic information has become quite the issue for the State of Kansas lately. It has become so much so that a bill, HB 2560, Kansas Cybersecurity Act, was introduced prior to the Turnaround Deadline; however, that bill did not gain much traction. This latest event might rejuvenate that proposal.  
See — https://www.kdads.ks.gov/media-center/news-releases/2018/03/01/kdads-notifies-consumers-about-potential-breach-of-protected-health-information
See also — http://www.cjonline.com/news/20180301/kdads-mistakenly-releases-medical-confidential-information-on-11000-kansans
And see — http://kcur.org/post/kansas-aging-agency-spills-personal-information-11000-people#stream/0

 
Big News— The KBA will hold its Day at the Capitol on March 19th.  The agenda will include a 9:30 a.m. welcome from the KBA followed by comments from Chief Justice Nuss.  Volunteers will head over to the Capitol at 10 a.m. to begin meeting with legislators. We will have lunch in the Capitol from noon-1:00 p.m., followed by an afternoon session of legislator meetings.  Volunteers can plan to be back at the KBA by 3:00 p.m. for a debriefing and reception.
 
If you are interested in volunteering to meet with your legislator to discuss wage increases for the Judicial Branch, please contact me at jmolina@ksbar.org

 

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Turnaround!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Kansas Legislature reached its halfway point of the 2018 session on February 23rd with the passage of the House of Origin deadline, marking the date in which all non-exempt legislation must advance out of its house of introduction, or is considered dead for the remainder of the session.  However, several exempt committees continue to work through legislative initials.  These 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 and all legislation must be passed out prior to the deadline to be considered.

Thus far the session and most of the state has been focused on the K12 funding.  State revenue has begun to climb out of the previous year’s poor returns but even these better than expected numbers are not enough to cover the cost of school.  Many in the Capitol strongly oppose raising taxes to pay for K12 and they are looking at some sort of cut. There has been very little direction given from the new governor, so legislators are taking the lead. What proposes spring forth are yet to be determined.

Judicial Budget

The judicial branch was able to discuss their enhancement request with both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee.  The request includes; add $19.6 million to the judicial budget for judicial raises ($7.5 million); nonjudicial raises ($10.3 million), 7 new judges/staff ($772K); 20 unfunded positions ($875K) and judicial suite renovations ($200K).  The issue is a controversial one that will require addition attention going forward.  

Raises for judicial staff are also proposed in standalone bills. Those bills include:

The judicial branch was able to get is docket fee extension thru the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.  The measure passed the KS Senate 39-0.  It now goes to the House with a likely referral to House Judiciary. 

HB 2560 enacts the Kansas Cybersecurity Act which will impact judicial Branch employees. This measure was stricken from the calendar.  It was not referred to an exempt committee before the deadline, so it is likely done for the year.

 

HB 2645|Making appropriations for FY 2019 for the judicial branch; salary increases for justices, judges and nonjudicial employees.
HB 2645 changes where the primary district magistrate judge will reside in the 4th district from Osage to Coffey county. This bill has not been moved forward in the legislative process.

 

SB 395

Setting a maximum final average salary amount for purposes of computing retirement benefits for certain members of KPERS, KP&F and the retirement system for judges.

SB 395 appears to cap a judge’s final average salary for KPERS purposes at $99,636.00.  This bill did not pass out of committee and did not make it to the Senate Floor.

 

SB 411

Allowing certain persons with suspended driving privileges to enter into amnesty agreements with the division of vehicles.

SB 411 is an issue previously introduced by Judge Phil Journey regarding the Traffic Fee Amnesty Program.  This bill was not given a hearing or referred to an exempt committee.

Family Law Bills

SB 257

Creating a presumption of child's equal time with parents during court determinations of legal custody, residency or parenting time

The KBA Family Law Section opposed SB 257. This bill was not passed out of committee or referred to an exempt committee.

 

HB 2529

Creating a presumption of child's equal time with parents during court determinations of legal custody, residency or parenting time

Charles Harris appeared on behalf of the KBA to oppose HB 2529 which is the identical bill filled in the Senate (SB 257). This bill was not passed out of committee or referred to an exempt committee.

 

HB 2481

Updating the KS Adoption and relinquishment act

HB 2481 is an update to adoption law introduced by the Kansas Judicial Council. This bill passed the KS House 117-0.  It has been referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

HB 2524

Allowing petitions for a protection from abuse order to include a request for transfer of rights to a wireless telephone number

HB 2524 would make it easier to separate cell phone account in domestic abuse situations.  This bill was passed 117-0 in the KS House. Ron Nelson worked closely with the sponsor of the bill on several amendments to this bill.

 

HB 2520

Retroactive child support guidelines

The KBA Family Law Section recommends the KBA oppose HB 2520 because it places limits on retroactive child support orders, limits the courts decision-making process and is not in the best interest of the child. This bill was not passed out of committee nor referred to an exempt committee.

 

HB 2687

Creating the Adoption Protection Act

SB 401

Creating the Adoption Protection Act

This bill allows any child placement agency to refuse to make a placement that violates the agencies sincerely held religious beliefs.  The KBA Family Law Section strongly opposes these two identical bills. No hearings have been set but these bills are exempt from the Turnaround Deadline having been introduced into exempt committees.

 

HB 2630

Adding protecting children from witnessing abuse to the list of factors the court considers when determining custody, residency or parenting time

This bill was rejected by the Kansas Judicial Council Family Law Advisory Committee in 2016. The KBA Family Law Section strongly opposes this bill because it would enact the so called “protective parent defense” which would discount the “friendly parent” factor included in the child custody factors. The friendly parent factor has long been in the cross-hairs of some asserting that it encourages abusive and manipulative parents to the detriment of a parent (the abused parent) who is protecting the child by various actions that otherwise would be considered as “alienating.” 

This bill did not pass the Kansas House.

Real Property Bills

HB 2506

Rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities

This bill would allow cities, as well as certain organizations as authorized by current law, to take temporary possession of abandoned property for purposes of rehabilitating the property. The bill would also make many definitional and other changes to laws dealing with rehabilitation of abandoned property. The Title Standard Committee reviewed but declined to make a formal recommendation. The Kansas House passed this bill 90-32 last week.

 

HB 2727

Requiring contracts for the sale of real estate to provide notice of mineral, oil and gas interests.

This bill is in response to Adamson vs. Drill Baby Drill LLC.  The bill would require additional notice be given to potential homeowners when a mineral lease is separate from the surface rights. The bill was not debated by the House committee of the Whole.

 

SB 329

Enacting the uniform partition of heirs property act

This bill would enact the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act. The bill would assist in the partition of property, which is owned as tenants in common and some portion was inherited, or the co-tenants are relatives. The KBA Title Standard Committee recommends the KBA oppose this bill. This bill did not pass out of the House.

 

Litigation Bills

HB 2461

Awarding costs and attorney fees to plaintiffs prevailing in unpaid wage claims

This bill was not passed by the House prior to the deadline.

 

HB 2550

Removing caps on damages in wrongful death actions except those against certain healthcare provider

This bill was referred to House Appropriations and is now exempt from the Turnaround Deadline.

 

HB 2579

Providing compensation for a person who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned

I believe these three bills were introduced by Rep. Tim Hodge (D-Newton) to claw back provisions lost during previous legislatures.  This bill was passed 116-1.

 

SB 266

Amending the collateral source definition for crime victim’s compensation fund

SB 266 was introduced by the Ks Attorney General’s office Crime Victim’s Compensation Board.  The bill broadly defines what collateral source means when dealing with the crime victim’s compensation board.  As testified the bill would amend the definition of “collateral source” to include “any other source” received by or readily available to the victim or claimant before the Board would discuss compensation for the victim.  This bill was passed 38-0 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

 

SB 277

Extending recognition to tribal court judgments pursuant to supreme court rules

This bill was sponsored by the Kansas judicial Council to codify a civil law practice into law.  Make judicial district are already recognizing these types of judgments via court rule.  This bill simply puts into law what has already become practice.  No action was taken on this bill.

 

SB 296

Allowing evidence of failure to use a safety belt to be admissible in any action for certain purposes

This bill was introduced by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.  The bill was supported by GM and several defense lawyers, including KADC.  The Kansas Trial Lawyers Association opposed. This bill passed 25-15.

 

SB 199

Appeal bonds

This bill was a carryover from 2017 and it was introduced by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The bill was aimed at pending litigation and attempted to make certain aspects of appeal bond requirements retroactive.  The bill also lowered the bond amount if a defendant could show it was a small business as defined by the new bill.  The retroactive provisions were removed from the bill in committee.  This bill passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 14th on a 32-7 vote. Referred to House judiciary.

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Judicial Budget Lows

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, February 12, 2018

 

Week 5 saw the second State of the State Address—the first for Gov. Colyer. The address focused on three main areas: transparency, jobs and education. The Governor has already signed an executive order making the first 100 pages of a KORA request free of charge. He will also require annual sexual harassment training for state employees.

 

Colyer also want to focus on keeping schools open, accountability for new money used and stopping the endless lawsuits. He hinted at a constitutional amendment, but his speech did not provide any other details. Colyer also suggested a constitutional amendment dealing with pro-life laws but again no specifics were given. For more information please see; https://go.ksbar.org/2sqGaFI; See also; https://go.ksbar.org/2EXmsUy

For our purposes, Week 5 was focused on the Judicial Budget—specifically, raises for staff and judges. Last Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee debated the Judicial Branch request to add $19.6 million to the judicial budget for judicial raises ($7.5 million); nonjudicial raises ($10.3 million), seven new judges/staff ($772K); 20 unfunded positions ($875K) and judicial suite renovations ($200K).

Several members of the appropriations committee challenged the facts the court used to arrive at these numbers. The concerns were wide-ranging and included inaccurate figures to a poor wage survey to using non-neighbor states for comparison (IOWA). 

Others were concerned that the total increase would be 18% above the current SGF for the Judicial Branch. The strongest opponents to the recommendations were Rep. Hoffman (R-Coldwater); Rep. Williams (R-Augusta) and Rep. Claeys (R-Salina).

Several members felt that an increase of over 21% for judges was out of line, and they would rather focus on nonjudicial staff. Rep. Claeys felt it more appropriate to fund correction officer raises due to the safety issues they are facing.

Overall, the recommendation was not well received, and it appears that the committee has very little appetite for any raise for judges.

In the end, Rep. Hoffman made a motion to strike the entire judicial budget enhancements from the recommendation. They did discuss bringing the issue up again. Chairman Waymaster would like more information from the courts concerning the amount of the raises and how they arrived at those numbers.

Next week the Senate Ways & Means Subcommittee will hear the judicial branch enhancement requests. The KBA will again be submitting testimony in support. You can view the judicial branch budget enhancement request on the KBA website.

 

There are two stand-alone bills dealing with judicial salaries still out there, one in each chamber:

HB 2689      Making appropriations for FY 2019 for the judicial branch; salary increases for justices, judges and nonjudicial employees.

SB 388        Making appropriations for FY 2019 for the judicial branch; salary increases for justices, judges and nonjudicial employees.         

                    Neither are set for hearing, but they both will survive the Turnaround Deadline since they are in exempt committees.

 

Here are a few other bills being monitored by the KBA that could affect the judicial branch:

HB 2560      Kansas Cybersecurity Act

                    HB 2560 enacts the Kansas Cybersecurity Act which would impact judicial branch employees. OJA is working with the committee to exempt the Judicial Branch. I will continue to monitor its progress.

 

HB 2645      Changing district magistrate judge position assignments in the 4th judicial district

HB 2645       would change the residence for the primary district magistrate judge in the 4th district from Osage to Coffey county. The 4th District has two magistrates assigned with one being housed in Osage County and the other rotating between Coffey, Anderson and Franklin. No hearing date set.

 

SB 395        Setting a maximum final average salary amount for purposes of computing retirement benefits for certain members of KPERS, KP&F and the retirement system for judges.

                    SB 395 appears to cap a judge’s final average salary for KPERS purposes at $99,636.00. This is also done for magistrate judges. We continue to monitor this issue.

 

SB 411        Allowing certain persons with suspended driving privileges to enter into amnesty agreements with the division of vehicles.

                    SB 411 is an issue previously introduced by Judge Phil Journey regarding the Traffic Fee Amnesty Program. The only difference is that this bill allows the Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles to run the program instead of the courts. No hearing is scheduled at this time.

 

While this week’s focus was on the judicial branch’s proposal, other bills were introduced that need careful consideration; they include:

 

Family Law

HB 2524      Allowing petitions for a protection from abuse order to include a request for transfer of rights to a wireless telephone number

HB 2529      Creating a presumption of child's equal time with parents during court determinations of legal custody, residency or parenting time

HB 2630      Adding protecting children from witnessing abuse to the list of factors the court considers when determining custody, residency or parenting time

HB 2687      Creating the Adoption Protection Act

SB 390        Creating the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act

SB 401        Creating the Adoption Protection Act

 

Real Property

HB 2452      Limiting the duration of certain conservation easements

HB 2727      Requiring contracts for the sale of real estate to provide notice of mineral, oil and gas interests.

SB 329        Enacting the uniform partition of heirs property act

 

Litigation

SB 266        Amending the collateral source definition for crime victim’s compensation fund

SB 277        Extending recognition to tribal court judgments pursuant to supreme court rules

SB 296        Allowing evidence of failure to use a safety belt to be admissible in any action for certain purposes

SB 409        Creating procedures for limiting contact with jurors

 

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Regime Change - Kansas

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Friday, February 2, 2018

The last day in January ended up being the last day of the Brownback Administration. Gov. Brownback officially resigned at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31st. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer then took the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Nuss. Secretary of State Kris Kobach—who normally does the swearing-in—did not attend. Gov. Colyer wants to set a different tone going forward, what that means remains to be seen. Gov. Colyer is the 47th Governor of the State of Kansas.

See; http://bit.ly/2nrEhni ; see also; http://tigermedianet.com/?p=36346 and http://bit.ly/2GDcisA .

Interesting fact: Only two Kansas Governors have served two full terms: John Carlin and Bill Graves.

Last week the KBA testified on two bills:

SB 309  | Providing for the disposition of judicial branch docket fees in FY 2020 and FY 2021
The KBA also testified on SB 309. Under current law, the first $3.1 million of any remaining docket fee revenue is credited to the Electronic Filing and Management Fund (EFMF) through FY 2019. Beginning in FY 2020, the amount will be reduced to $1.0 million. SB 309 would extend the $3.1 million credit through FY 2021. Beginning in FY 2022, and every fiscal year after, the bill would increase the $1.0 million credit to $1.5 million.

The court had requested an extension of this docket fee distribution on two previous occasions. Both times, the request was made to give the courts the revenue required to complete the E-Filing process. This time, the request has been made to make it possible for the court to complete the case management program.

SB 309 was recommended favorably by Senate Judiciary and is headed to the full Senate.

 

The KBA continues to monitor two family law bills that had hearings last week. They are:

Next Week the KBA will monitor the following hearings:

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