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Turnaround 2020

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, February 24, 2020

This Thursday. February 27th,  the Kansas Legislature will hit its midway point, when bills not passed out of their House of Origin can no longer be passed into law. This day, commonly referred to as “Turnaround,” most of the bills introduced this session fall by the wayside. There are still procedural maneuvers that optimistic lawmakers can use to survive this deadline. They can introduce their bill into an exempt committee, (House Appropriations, Senate Ways & Means or either chamber’s Federal & State Committee, or they can have their bill “blessed” by leadership.) To be “blessed,” the bill must be referred to one of these exempt committees. The water cooler talk is that the Kansas Senate plans to take a bare bones approach to Turnaround and not bless as many bills as in past years.

The KBA had a productive Week 7. Last week, the KBA focused on four bills dealing with legal fees and legal advertising. These bills are:

SB 444

Public Litigation Coordination act to restrict certain contracts by public entities for legal services on a contingency fee basis

SB 445

Defining and prohibiting certain deceptive lawsuit advertising practices and restricting the use or disclosure of protected health information to solicit individuals for legal services.

SB 446

Enacting limitations on contingency fee agreements in certain civil actions

SB 447

Providing for joint liability for costs and sanctions in third-party funded litigation, requiring certain discovery disclosures and requiring payment of certain costs for nonparty subpoenas.

 

The KBA issued a Call to Action that urged KBA members to contact Senators to express their concerns with these bills. The Call to Action was emailed to 5854 individuals. Some 1624 individuals opened the email, with 204 taking additional action of reading the bill and searching for their Senator.

At present, these bills HAVE NOT been set for hearing. Furthermore, these bills HAVE NOT been referred to any exempt committee. Should these bills not be “blessed,” they will be stricken from the calendar. The only option then would be for the sponsors of the bills to re-introduce them into an exempt committee after the deadline. We have a week left, so it is still possible one of these options are used could be used to keep the bills active past the deadline.

With the Senate bills tied up, the Kansas Attorney General is using the amendment process to move his issue forward. The KS AG introduced HB 2461 in January. That bill banned contingency fee contracts entered by public entities. HB 2461 is titled the Public Litigation Coordination Act. The KBA opposed this bill and the bill languished. The KS AG will attempt to amend the bill in committee. They will use the language in SB 444. The KBA has expressed its opposition to the amendment.

Judicial Branch Budget

The General Government Budget committee held a hearing on the Judicial Branch Budget this week. Chief Justice Marla Luckert presented to the committee. The KBA submitted testimony in support of the supplemental request for $17.1 million to fund salary increases for judges and staff. The committee plans to work this budget this week. Raises will help with our national ranking which places Kansas near the bottom in every judicial salary category. See the latest Judicial Salary Chart - https://www.ncsc.org/salarytracker.

Other news

The House has passed HB 2447, audio/visual use in courtrooms. The final vote was 83-39. This bill goes to the Senate now.

House Judiciary approved HB 2533, family law arbitration act. The bill will be debate on the House floor next week.

House Judiciary approved HB 2713, revised Uniform Laws on Notarial Act. This bill will also be debated on the House Floor next week.

House Local Government has referred HB 2600, Contract for Deed proposal to the Kansas Judicial Council. The KBA opposed this bill and suggested that the referral be made to better study the issue.

Senate Commerce declined to add an amendment to SB 424, extending the effective date for certain LLC statutes until July 1, 2022. The amendment would have added fictitious name statutes to names that can be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. The KBA opposed this amendment as it interferes with federal and state trademark laws. The amendment may return as a stand-alone bill.

This will be a long week at the Capitol. Look for daily updates via live tweeting @KansasBarLeg.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  contingency fee contracts  contract for deed  family law arbitration  judicial branch budget  Public Litigation Coordination Act  s  Turnaround Deadline  use of audio/visual in courtrooms  Weekly-2020-02-25 

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