The Kansas Legislature is off for the majority of April, but there are still things to report. First, Gov. Kelly continues to sign bills into law. Just last week, she signed 16 bills on a variety of issues. These new laws will affect DCF, utility rate studies, state banking code, local government elections, and the number of school safety drills performed each year. This week, the Governor will likely continue to sign bills into law, including CCR for HB 2039, dealing with tribal judgments and the Kansas LLC Act.
Senate President Susan Wagle also made the news last week when she requested that KSAG Derek Schmidt file a lawsuit over the Kansas Court of Appeal nomination—or in her opinion—the lack thereof. In the nine-page letter, Sen. Wagle requested KSAG Schmidt seek a court ruling on whether Gov. Kelly can nominate another person to the court of appeals, or if the statute requires that Chief Justice Nuss make the appointment. Some believe that Gov. Kelly forfeited her opportunity to make the nomination when she withdrew Judge Jeffry Jack from consideration. Others believe that the Jack nomination counts, and she should have another chance to select. This is an ongoing issue which appears headed to the courts.
It should also be noted that Sen. Ty Masterson (R- Andover) introduced a constitutional amendment to replace the Supreme Court Nominating Commission with the same process used for the Kansas Court of Appeals.
SCR 1610 Constitutional amendment revising article 3, relating to the judiciary; allowing the governor to appoint supreme court justices and court of appeals judges, subject to senate confirmation; abolishing the supreme court nominating commission.
On a related note, the election for the 2nd Congressional District member to the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission is underway. Only lawyers who reside within the 2nd Congressional District and who have properly registered to vote with the Supreme Court Clerk are eligible to vote in this election. See; KSA 20-170. The KBA has introduced legislation to remove that barrier for lawyers who want to vote in those elections; that bill has stalled in the Kansas House. See; HB 2020. As such, the process continues under current law.
- There are seven lawyers are on the ballot for this election. They include:
- Sara S. Beezley, Pittsburg
- Terrance J. Campbell, Lawrence
- Heather R. Cessna, Lawrence
- Shaye L. Downing, Lawrence
- J. David Farris, Atchison
- Jason P. Hoffman, Topeka
- Michael F. Kagay, Topeka
- Lawyers who are qualified to vote in this election should have already received a ballot in the mail.
- Please follow the instructions and return the ballot and the signed certificate to the Kansas Supreme Court on or before May 15, 2019.