The Kansas Legislature is halfway through the 2019 session. The Turnaround Deadline was supposed to be February 28th. However, the Capitol went quiet early, since both chambers completed their listed work the previous day. Combined, both chambers passed well over 50 bills in three days. Most were uncontroversial. One of the most controversial bills, HB 2167 dealt with the transfer of deer hunting permits passed 63-60.
Both chambers have agreed to repay KPERs a total of $115 million. That bill, SB 9, has been sent to Gov. Kelly for consideration.
The KBA was able to push forward three bills it supported: the House passed HB 2039, tribal judgments; and HB 2105, LLC update. The Senate passed SB 20, surcharge extension. SB 20 will get a hearing in the House next Thursday, March 7th. The Senate has not set a date to hear HB 2039 or HB 2105.
Two KBA bills did not fair as well. HB 2020, attorney registration requirements, did not make it out of committee. Kansans for Life opposed this bill. We were also unable to get HB 2072, prohibiting mandatory arbitration, debated by the full House before the deadline. There was some concern that HB 2072 would be germane to a teacher due process amendment.
The courts were able to push several bills thru including SB 19, adding organizations that can see presentencing reports and HB 2211, allowing judges to reduce driver’s license reinstatement fees. The court also presented a budget request to subcommittees in both chambers. The Subcommittee for Ways & Means will deliberate the Judicial Branch budget next Wednesday, March 6th, upon adjournment of the Senate.
The KBA plans to oppose SB 157, creating the presumption of shared parenting time for temporary orders. The KBA opposed a similar bill in 2018. The concept of 50/50 shared parenting was discussed by the Kansas Judicial Council this past summer. That committee concluded that shared parenting creates more problems than it solves. You can read the entire report here: https://kansasjudicialcouncil.org/Documents/Studies%20and%20Reports/2018%20Reports/HB%202529%20Report%20-%20Parenting%20Time%20Approved%20by%20JC.PDF
SB 157 is set for hearing on Thursday, March 7th in Senate Judiciary. It should be noted that SB 157 has 17 co-sponsors that include both Democrats and Republicans. The chair of Senate Judiciary is also a co-sponsor. Should be interesting.
Finally, the KBA Day @ the Capitol is scheduled for March 12th. KBA volunteers will meet with the 34 Freshman legislators to discuss the Judicial Branch budget. As it currently stands, Kansas District Court judges are 51st in the nation for salary, Court of Appeal judges are 38th out 0f 40. Judicial staff don’t fare much better. This is the second year the KBA has focused on judicial branch salary increases.