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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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Judicial Selection Up First

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The first full week of the Kansas Legislature was marked by Gov. Brownback’s State of the State address, and the introduction of 98 bills and a two-day hearing dealing with merit selection reform. Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on merit selection. This was a two-day hearing to discuss SCR 1601 and SB 8. These proposals would eliminate the current Supreme Court Nominating Commission; replace it with a federal model system and enact a new seven-person commission to review the governor’s appointee. Proponents of this proposal testified last Wednesday with opponents commenting on Thursday. KBA President Lee Smithyman testified in opposition to both proposals.

Quick Take:

KBA Executive Director Jordan Yochim presents Sen. Jeff King with the Senate Judiciary Gavel!

With the opening of the 2013 Kansas Legislative session Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) has ascended to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The KBA welcomes Sen. King and looks forward to a productive year.


In addition, the KBA introduced its own proposals to reform the merit selection commission. This proposal, called the "4-5-6 Plan” would maintain the merit selection system but allow more input from the legislative branch. Licensed attorneys in Kansas would continue to elected four (4) commission members, one from each congressional district; the governor would appoint five (5) members, with one being a non-voting chair; and the legislature would appoint six (6) members, the speaker of the House will appoint two, the Senate president would appoint two, and the minority leader of both chambers would each appoint one. This revised nominating commission would preserve the merit selection system that has produced highly qualified judges for more than 50 years while allowing more accountability through indirect representation by the people. If judicial selection must be changed, the KBA encourages the legislature to adopt the "4-5-6 Plan.”


Additionally, the Kansas House Judiciary Committee held informational meeting on judicial selection methods last week. That committee introduced three other proposals that included a Federal Model plan (HCR 5002, a partisan election plan), HCR 5003 (Rep. Mark Kahrs), and a hybrid approach (HCR 5005 – Rep. John Rubin). In addition to the KBA, Chief Judge Tom Malone (Court of Appeals); Jim Robinson (Kansas Association of Defense Counsel & Defense Research Institute); Mike Fleming (Kansas Association of Justice); Jack Focht (Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice); Anne Burke (Supreme Court Nominating Commission chair); Debbie Nordling (former Supreme Court Nominating Commissioner – non-lawyer appointee); Janice McMillan (Kansas League of Women Voters); Landon Rowland (Lead Bank president); Harry McDonald (Main Stream Coalition); Professor Mike Hoeflich, Professor Jim Concannon; Jen Bruning (Overland Park Chamber of Commerce); Robert VanCrum (Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce); Lenexa Chamber of Commerce; and Hugh Gill (Wichita Bar Association president) all provided testimony in support of the current merit selection system.


A hearing on each of the proposals introduced in the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled for January 22, at 3:30 p.m. in Rm. 112-N. The KBA will testify in support of the "4-5-6 Plan” (HCR 5004).


Business association practitioners should be interested in the following:

SB 5, business entities restricting use of acquired entity’s name, which is scheduled for a hearing on January 24 at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Commerce Committee, Rm. 548-S.


Attorneys with a criminal law practice should pay attention to the following bills:

SB 4, statute of limitations for certain sexually violent crimes;
SB 16, Kansas racketeer influenced act; criminal street gangs;
SB 17, amending the crime of unlawful sexual relations;
SB 19, mistreatment of a dependent adult;
SB 39, unlawful possession of prescription-only drugs;
SB 40, amending provisions relating to DNA evidence;
SB 47, amending the crime of identity theft; and
HB 2013, amending the crime of perjury.


Immigration attorneys may find the following interesting:

SB 48, Kansas employer e-verify accountability act.


Litigants may find these last three bills interesting:

SB 20, civil procedure; poverty affidavit;
SB 42, architects and engineers; immunity from liability in negligence; and
HB 2028, providing for venue in Shawnee County District Court in forfeiture proceedings


Probate lawyers should consider the proposals introduced by the Kansas Judicial Council:

HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce; and
HB 2015, marital property.

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2013 Legislature Opens

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kansas legislators returned to work this week, and they were greeted with a school finance ruling, hearings on merit selection of appellate judges, and 18 other prefilled bills. The most discussed issue is the school finance ruling that ordered the legislature to fund school base aid at a much higher level. See


A number of legislators have already voiced their concern over the ruling, believing that the three-Judge panel overstepped their authority by ordering an appropriation of funds. Legislators have stated that the authority to allocated funds is reserved for elected representatives. See


The school finance ruling will have a definite impact on the state budget but the ripple effects are sure influences other issues, i.e., merit selection. The Senate and House judiciary committees have already scheduled hearings to discuss changes to the current merit selection method. The Senate has even pre-filled a concurrent resolution to amend the Kansas Constitution (SCR 1601) and another bill (SB 8) to create the Judicial Qualification Commission as an alternative to the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Hearings are scheduled as follows:


Senate Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, January 16 – Thursday, January 17
State Capitol, Rm. 346-S (Old Supreme Court Room)
10:30 a.m. – Noon


House Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, January 16 – Thursday, January 17
State Capitol, Rm. 112-N
3:30 p.m.


Attorneys practicing in the business entity field should pay attention the following:

SB 5 and HB 2010, dealing with business entities restricting use of acquired entity’s name. Both of these bills contain the same language. The KBA is monitoring this issue.


Criminal attorneys may wish to review the following bill:

SB 4 and HB 2008 both concern the statute of limitations for certain sexually violent offenses. These bills would expand the time limit for sexually violent offenses committed against a person under the age of 18.

Tags:  finance  merit selection  opening  school finance 

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2013 Legislative Timeline

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The 2013 Kansas Legislature is set to open on Monday, January 14. The official opening will start at 2 p.m. with the swearing in of House and Senate members. The big news will come out of January 15 when Gov. Brownback addresses the Legislature to give his State of the State address. The governor will most likely discuss the Kansas Budget process, moving from an annual budgeting cycle to a biannual cycle. He may also discuss the impact of the 2012 tax cuts, reauthorizing the 2009 1-cent sales tax, school funding, and merit selection.


After the governor has laid out his vision for 2013, legislators will begin introducing legislation and holding hearings. To keep pace with the fast paced Capitol issues, follow me on twitter (@KansasBarLeg) for the latest legislative updates. You can also keep tabs on legislative deadlines at

Tags:  Brownback  budget  opening  timeline 

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