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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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