Next Monday, January 14th, the Kansas Legislature opens its doors for the 2019 Legislative Session. We will welcome more than 30 new faces to the Capitol. The most significant change is that of Governor-Elect Laura Kelly. She and her Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers will be sworn in on Monday.
We will also see new faces on the judiciary committees of both chambers. The Senate’s new Vice-Chair is Eric Rucker (R-Topeka) and a new Minority Chair is Vic Miller (D-Topeka). Both replace Kansas Senators who ascended to higher office. On the House side, Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka) takes over as chair for Rep. Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa) as Finch takes on the Speaker Pro Tem position. Vice Chair Brad Ralph (R-Dodge City) and Minority Chair John Carmichael round out the committee’s leadership spots.
As these new legislators get comfortable with their positions, they will have to deal with some rather old issues. Several legislators will want to discuss a new school finance formula. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article222907550.html. This would seem unusual since the legislature only needs to pass a funding bill dealing with inflation to close the matter. Time will tell if this is just a distraction or if leaders truly want to reopen that issue for discussion.
Gov.-Elect Kelly will also need to deal with DCF and KDADS staffing, oversight and funding issues. Kelly started down this path when she appointed Laura Howard as interim secretary for both agencies. Howard will replace Gina Meier-Hummel. See; http://www2.ljworld.com/news/state-government/2019/jan/03/kelly-appoints-ku-director-as-interim-leader-for-2-social-services-agencies/
While the new administration continues to transition into its leadership roles, they will take a break to celebrate. Gov.-Elect Kelly will host an inaugural ball on Monday, January 14th at the Kansas Expo Center. For more information, please visit - https://www.kellyrogersinauguration.com/.
Finally, the KBA will be gearing up to work on several technical proposals in 2019. The KBA will seek legislative approval to update the Kansas Revised Limited Liability Company Act; this proposal has been in the works for nearly a year. The KBA will also support extending the surcharge docket fee to help the courts become more efficient. The extension will allow the court to begin implementing E-Courts statewide. The KBA will deal with a variety of family law issues as well as attorney registration issues.
For information on legislators, bills and committee assignments please visit www.ksbar.org starting on Jan. 14th. You can also find information at www.kslegisalture.org. To receive live updates during the session, you can follow us on twitter @KansasBarLeg