On Monday, Nov. 19th, the KBA held its 11th Annual Fall Legislative Conference. Our Special Guest Speaker this year was Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. CJ Nuss discussed the incredible work the Kansas Judicial Branch has undertaken this past year, including its work toward a more efficient court system and implementation of the E-Courts project. He also discussed the need for pay increases for judicial branch staff and judges. Nuss reported that even after the two percent pay increase for judges last year, Kansas now ranks dead last in the nation for district court judge pay. Judicial branch staff pay also remain below market. Nuss asked for assistance in discussing these issues with the legislature. Nuss invited legislators to tour courthouses and meet with judges so they could better explain the nature of the court system’s functions. Pay increases for judicial staff and judges continues to be a significant issue for the judicial branch. CJ Nuss hopes this can be addressed this coming legislative session.
The Fall Conference was also excited that Prof. Burdett Loomis from KU and Brad Cooper from the Sunflower State Journal were able to join us to discuss the general elections results. The panel discussion focused on Governor-Elect Laura Kelly’s possible priorities in 2019. The panel believed that Kelly will take a measured approach on the big issues, including school finance, expanding Medicaid and reforming DCF. Kelly will also deal with tax policy issues ranging from cutting food sale tax to returning the federal tax windfall to Kansas taxpayers, the latter of which almost passed in 2018 session. The panel understands there is much work to be done, but believe Kelly—who has established a reputation for being a thoughtful and well-prepared legislator—will likely look to study the issues first rather than making rash decisions, so her agenda may take longer to implement.
The KBA was also fortunate to have Danielle Hall, deputy disciplinary administrator, provide an Ethics CLE to our conference attendees. Her program on technology competence is a must-see.
The KBA was very pleased to have several lawyer/legislators attend along with one Kansas Senator: Rep. Dennis “Boog” Highberger (D-Lawrence); Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita); Rep. Vic Miller (D-Topeka); Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka) and Sen. Dinah Sykes (R-Lenexa). We appreciate these lawmakers’ time and interest in our KBA events.
Finally, we need to thank our sponsors. This group has generously supported the KBA Fall Conference since its inception. We could not provide these programs without them. We thank you.
Our sponsors include:
Alderson, Alderson, Conklin, Burghart, Crow & Slinkard, LLC
John C. Peterson, Bill Brady & Sean Miller/Capitol Strategies ♦ Kansas Bankers Association
Sneed Law Firm, LLC ♦ Whitney B. Damron, P.A.
R. E. "Tuck" Duncan/Kansas Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association
Foulston Siefkin LLP