The Kansas Legislature blew past its bill introduction deadline last Friday by filing more than 150 bills in five days. Many of those bills will not make it past the next deadline—Turnaround—which is set for February 28th. This is the day that bills that have not been passed out of their House of Origin (the chamber in which the bill was introduced) can no longer be worked. There are several ways around this deadline, but the most popular is having the bill “blessed,” which is to refer it to an exempt committee. Exempt committees include House and Senate Fed and State, House Appropriations, and Senate Ways and Means. Still, the vast majority of bills won’t receive hearings, and some that do will never make it above the line for consideration. Those bills will have to wait until 2020.
That does not mean there isn’t enough work to go around. Both chambers tackled KPERS bills and the Senate even passed a tax bill before March. The Senate KPERs bill, SB 9, would pay off a loan worth $115 million. The House KPERs bill, HB 2197, would amortize KPERs payments, save the state in the short term but cost more than $7 billion in the long run. In a bit of political theatre, the House reject HB 2197 by a vote of 36-87. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article226263235.html This was a large part of the Kelly agenda that now needs to be strategized.
The KBA was fortunate to get two bills out early. The Senate passed SB 20 35-5. This bill extends the surcharge fee indefinitely. This is a $9 million piece of the judicial branch budget. It heads to the House, where the KBA will continue its advocacy. The KBA was also able to get HB 2039 out of the House on a vote of 119-0. HB 2039 allows tribal court judgments to be recognized in Kansas District Court. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The KBA was also able to get its Revised LLC bill, HB 2105 out of committee on a voice vote. HB 2105 still need to pass out of the House to be safe from the deadline, and we are focusing our efforts toward that result.
KBA sections have been busy reviewing several pieces of legislation:
We will update the Advocate if these bills are set for hearings.
However, the bills that gained the most news attention this past week deal with same-sex marriage.
Rep. Randy Garber (R-Sabetha) sponsored both of those measures. He is joined by Rep. Owen Donohoe (R-Shawnee); Rep. David French (R-Lansing); Rep. Cheryl Helmer (R-Mulvane) Rep. Richard Highland (R-Wamego); Rep. Steve Huebert (R-Valley Center); Rep. Ken Rahjes (R-Agra) and Rep. Bill Rhiley (R-Wellington). Rep. Ken Rahjes (R-Agra) joins this group in sponsoring HB 2321.
See; https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article226263490.html; See also; https://www.newsweek.com/kansas-bills-parody-same-sex-marriage-lgbtq-rights-drag-queen-story-time-gay-1331122?amp=1&__twitter_impression=true; and; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190214/vile-hateful-and-disrespectful-lgbtq-lobbyists-blast-attempt-to-undermine-legitimacy-of-kansas-same-sex-marriages.
Finally, Shelby Lopez, Executive Director of the Kansas Bar Association, presented Rep. Blaine Finch (Left photo) with a plaque to commemorate his service as House Judiciary Chair. Ms. Lopez also presented Rep. Fred Patton (Right photo) with the KBA House Gavel as the current House Judiciary Chair. We appreciate their service to Kansas.