For many committees, last week was the final time they would meet prior to the Feb 23 Turnaround deadline. For the rest of this week, both chambers will be on the floor trying to pass bills before the deadline. If a bill is not passed by its House of Origin prior to the deadline, it is done for the session, unless it is from 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; therefore, all legislation from either judiciary committee must be passed out prior to the deadline to be considered this session.
The basics of the proposed tax plan is that retroactive to January 1, 2017, Kansas reverts back to a three-bracket tax system and halts the income tax reduction schedule. The tax plan debate made a lot of headlines this week, mostly because the House passed it without any questions or debate. The House passed the tax plan 76-48; this is not a veto-proof margin. The Senate passed this tax bill 22-18. It’s important to remember that a veto proof margin would be 27 in the Senate. Securing five more votes in the Senate will be a heavy lift. The governor’s veto threat has real teeth now, although he could allow the legislation to become law without his signature. What happens now is anyone’s guess. Brownback has commented that he may very well veto this tax plan.
On Monday, all the action was in House Health and Human Services where the committee tried to pass out a Medicaid expansion bill. The vote was always going to be close, and on the first attempt to table the bill, fell equal at 11-11. However, after an amendment on residency requirements, opponents again tried to table the bill—this time with a date certain. The motion called for tabling the bill till Veto Session or April 3rd. That motion passed. However, House Health and Human Services Committee is not an exempt body which means HB 2154 would need to be blessed to survive the turnaround deadline. Since that has not happened, it would seem that Medicaid Expansion is done for the year. There is a bill on the Senate side, but that measure has no traction now.
See also; http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2017/feb/20/house-panel-tables-medicaid-expansion-bill/
This KBA proposal was passed out of the House Committee of the Whole on a 124-0 vote. It is now headed to the Senate for consideration.
HB 2127 has not been worked by House Judiciary committee. If it is not blessed it will be dead for the session. As previously stated, the chair of House Judiciary had serious concerns about the bill.
Larry Rute also testified for the KBA on HB 2186 revising the Uniform Arbitration Act of 2000. Again, the committee was receptive to our arguments for needed revisions. This bill should be worked next week by the House Committee of the Whole.
HB 2125 was recommended favorably by the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 13 and passed general orders on Feb. 20th. Final Action on this bill is set for Feb. 21st.
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 $950K. These funds are already in the FY18 & FY19 Judicial Budget request. Should the bill not be passed, the courts face a significant budget cut.
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.
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.
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 significant change unacceptable. As such, the KBA Title Standard Committee opposes the bill. The KLTA and the KBA will submit a letter to Senators opposing the amended language.
The House Judiciary Committee did not work HB 2101, and it has not been referred to a non-exempt committee. Therefore, it is unlikely this bill will progress any further this year.
The KBA was allowed a hearing on HB 2245 that repeals many provision on the 2016 law making attorney registration information open to the public. The KBA presented testimony and was represented by Nathan Eberline. Other supporters of HB 2245 were Wyandotte District Attorney Mark Dupree, Deb Hughes, Jay Hall, Callie Denton from Kansas Trial Lawyers Assn. and Marty Snyder. Stan Hazlett and Doug Shima provided background information. Opponents included Kansans for Life, the House GOP and the Kansas Rifle Association.
For those who are interested, the KBA has updated its website with current testimony on bills of interest. That website is https://www.ksbar.org/page/bill_tracking_1718
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.