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The KBA Advocate is the weekly KBA legislative newsletter that contains up-to-date information on legislation that impacts your practice. It is only published when the legislature is in session and is sent to all KBA members electronically via the KBA Weekly.

 

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Top tags: Author: Joseph N. Molina III  2019 Session  2019-20  legislature  budget  election  Brownback  Supreme Court  Judicial Branch  school finance  Court of Appeals  Gannon  Hard 50  Kansas Supreme Court  Special Session  2016 Session  2017 session  2017-18  Alleyne  fall legislative conference  Senate  Sine Die  State of the Judiciary  2019 Golf Tournament  Caleb Stegall  conference  election day  First Adjournment  HCR 5005  House of Representatives 

Merit Selection Reform Makes a Big Move

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Proponents of merit selection reform had a very good week as both the Senate and House judiciary committees passed their version of the Federal Model out of committee. Actually the Senate Judiciary Committee passed two bills, SCR 1601 and SB 8, which will aid in the elimination of the current judicial selection process. There were no real surprises in the Senate Judiciary Committee as passage of these bills were seen as a foregone conclusion but there was some technical fixes that were needed before the committee could move SB 8 out. The technical fix involved the naming of the new seven-member commission created in SB 8. As introduced the seven-member commission was called the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications. However, the Supreme Court already has a commission with that name looking into complaints levied against judges so the new commission needed a name change. The Senate Judiciary Committee settled on the Kansas Commission on Judicial Nominations.

Quick Take:

On Monday, January 28 the KBA hosted the first Lunch & Learn with Lawyer-Legislators at the Kansas Capitol. This event allowed lawyer-legislators to receive 1.0 hour of CLE credit without leaving the Capitol. Many thanks to the Capitol staff and to Sen. Jeff King for making this event a success. The KBA hopes to provide our hardworking and time depraved lawyer-legislators with additional opportunities to receive CLE credit during the session.

 

Things in the House Judiciary Committee were a little more dramatic as Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita) made a motion to pass out of committee the KBA’s 4-5-6 Plan instead of the Federal Model plan that was under consideration. The Ward amendment failed 10-12. Out of the 10-committee members voting in favor of the 4-5-6 Plan, five were Republicans. This is a good sign as we move into the votes on the House floor. However, the original federal model proposal, HCR 5002, was passed on a voice vote. There was a significant amendment to HCR 5002 that moved the election date from the August primary to the November general election. The Senate considered this amendment but failed to pass it.

 

Later this week the Senate will consider SCR 1601 and SB 8 in General Orders with Final Action probably the following day. The House will likely debate this issue next week but a timetable is not set yet. If you are interested in contacting your legislator to express your thoughts on merit selection reform you can locate your legislator using the link below: http://ksbar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=341.

 

If you would lie to learn more about these proposals you can find that information here: http://ksbar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=346.

 

Besides merit selection there will be two hearings next week dealing with probate issues. These bills, HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015, domestic relations relating to marital property, will be heard on Thursday, January 31 at 3:30 p.m. in Rm. 346-S by the House Judiciary Committee.

 

You should also be interested in three bills dealing with the Supreme Court. The first is HB 2016, which would repeal the one judge per county requirement. This bill was introduced by Rep. Lance Kinzer and allows the Supreme Court to reassign a magistrate judge from a district with less than 600 non-traffic cases per year. The reassignment would come as judges retired. The Supreme Court has introduced their own one judge per county bill but it would simply give the chief justice the authority to reassign judges with no set timetable. This is very similar to what they introduced last year. The Supreme Court also introduced a bill that would allow them to create an e-filing fee fund.

 

Agriculture attorneys may find these bills interesting:

  • HB 2049, Kansas department of agriculture; increasing certain fees and eliminating sunsets on various program fees; and
  • SB 57, agriculture; powers and duties of the department of agriculture relating to animal health.

Attorneys with a criminal law practice should pay attention to the following bills:

  • SB 61, human trafficking;
  • SB 66, requiring the collection and publication of district attorney criminal and juvenile offender caseload data;
  • HB 2041, criminal history record information; definition; municipal court reporting; district court reporting;
  • HB 2043, aggravated battery; driving under the influence; and
  • HB 2093, amending the crime of ID theft.

Lawyers interested in elder law and/or health law should review the following:

  • HB 2068, Kansas death with dignity act.

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Judicial Selection Up First

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The first full week of the Kansas Legislature was marked by Gov. Brownback’s State of the State address, and the introduction of 98 bills and a two-day hearing dealing with merit selection reform. Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on merit selection. This was a two-day hearing to discuss SCR 1601 and SB 8. These proposals would eliminate the current Supreme Court Nominating Commission; replace it with a federal model system and enact a new seven-person commission to review the governor’s appointee. Proponents of this proposal testified last Wednesday with opponents commenting on Thursday. KBA President Lee Smithyman testified in opposition to both proposals.

Quick Take:

KBA Executive Director Jordan Yochim presents Sen. Jeff King with the Senate Judiciary Gavel!

With the opening of the 2013 Kansas Legislative session Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) has ascended to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The KBA welcomes Sen. King and looks forward to a productive year.

 

In addition, the KBA introduced its own proposals to reform the merit selection commission. This proposal, called the "4-5-6 Plan” would maintain the merit selection system but allow more input from the legislative branch. Licensed attorneys in Kansas would continue to elected four (4) commission members, one from each congressional district; the governor would appoint five (5) members, with one being a non-voting chair; and the legislature would appoint six (6) members, the speaker of the House will appoint two, the Senate president would appoint two, and the minority leader of both chambers would each appoint one. This revised nominating commission would preserve the merit selection system that has produced highly qualified judges for more than 50 years while allowing more accountability through indirect representation by the people. If judicial selection must be changed, the KBA encourages the legislature to adopt the "4-5-6 Plan.”

 

Additionally, the Kansas House Judiciary Committee held informational meeting on judicial selection methods last week. That committee introduced three other proposals that included a Federal Model plan (HCR 5002, a partisan election plan), HCR 5003 (Rep. Mark Kahrs), and a hybrid approach (HCR 5005 – Rep. John Rubin). In addition to the KBA, Chief Judge Tom Malone (Court of Appeals); Jim Robinson (Kansas Association of Defense Counsel & Defense Research Institute); Mike Fleming (Kansas Association of Justice); Jack Focht (Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice); Anne Burke (Supreme Court Nominating Commission chair); Debbie Nordling (former Supreme Court Nominating Commissioner – non-lawyer appointee); Janice McMillan (Kansas League of Women Voters); Landon Rowland (Lead Bank president); Harry McDonald (Main Stream Coalition); Professor Mike Hoeflich, Professor Jim Concannon; Jen Bruning (Overland Park Chamber of Commerce); Robert VanCrum (Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce); Lenexa Chamber of Commerce; and Hugh Gill (Wichita Bar Association president) all provided testimony in support of the current merit selection system.

 

A hearing on each of the proposals introduced in the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled for January 22, at 3:30 p.m. in Rm. 112-N. The KBA will testify in support of the "4-5-6 Plan” (HCR 5004).

 

Business association practitioners should be interested in the following:

SB 5, business entities restricting use of acquired entity’s name, which is scheduled for a hearing on January 24 at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Commerce Committee, Rm. 548-S.

 

Attorneys with a criminal law practice should pay attention to the following bills:

SB 4, statute of limitations for certain sexually violent crimes;
SB 16, Kansas racketeer influenced act; criminal street gangs;
SB 17, amending the crime of unlawful sexual relations;
SB 19, mistreatment of a dependent adult;
SB 39, unlawful possession of prescription-only drugs;
SB 40, amending provisions relating to DNA evidence;
SB 47, amending the crime of identity theft; and
HB 2013, amending the crime of perjury.

 

Immigration attorneys may find the following interesting:

SB 48, Kansas employer e-verify accountability act.

 

Litigants may find these last three bills interesting:

SB 20, civil procedure; poverty affidavit;
SB 42, architects and engineers; immunity from liability in negligence; and
HB 2028, providing for venue in Shawnee County District Court in forfeiture proceedings

 

Probate lawyers should consider the proposals introduced by the Kansas Judicial Council:

HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce; and
HB 2015, marital property.

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2013 Legislature Opens

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kansas legislators returned to work this week, and they were greeted with a school finance ruling, hearings on merit selection of appellate judges, and 18 other prefilled bills. The most discussed issue is the school finance ruling that ordered the legislature to fund school base aid at a much higher level. See http://www.shawneecourt.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=21.

 

A number of legislators have already voiced their concern over the ruling, believing that the three-Judge panel overstepped their authority by ordering an appropriation of funds. Legislators have stated that the authority to allocated funds is reserved for elected representatives. See http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/first-bell/2013/jan/13/school-finance-and-the-kansas-constituti/.

 

The school finance ruling will have a definite impact on the state budget but the ripple effects are sure influences other issues, i.e., merit selection. The Senate and House judiciary committees have already scheduled hearings to discuss changes to the current merit selection method. The Senate has even pre-filled a concurrent resolution to amend the Kansas Constitution (SCR 1601) and another bill (SB 8) to create the Judicial Qualification Commission as an alternative to the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Hearings are scheduled as follows:

 

Senate Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, January 16 – Thursday, January 17
State Capitol, Rm. 346-S (Old Supreme Court Room)
10:30 a.m. – Noon

 

House Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, January 16 – Thursday, January 17
State Capitol, Rm. 112-N
3:30 p.m.

 

Attorneys practicing in the business entity field should pay attention the following:

SB 5 and HB 2010, dealing with business entities restricting use of acquired entity’s name. Both of these bills contain the same language. The KBA is monitoring this issue.

 

Criminal attorneys may wish to review the following bill:

SB 4 and HB 2008 both concern the statute of limitations for certain sexually violent offenses. These bills would expand the time limit for sexually violent offenses committed against a person under the age of 18.

Tags:  finance  merit selection  opening  school finance 

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2013 Legislative Timeline

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The 2013 Kansas Legislature is set to open on Monday, January 14. The official opening will start at 2 p.m. with the swearing in of House and Senate members. The big news will come out of January 15 when Gov. Brownback addresses the Legislature to give his State of the State address. The governor will most likely discuss the Kansas Budget process, moving from an annual budgeting cycle to a biannual cycle. He may also discuss the impact of the 2012 tax cuts, reauthorizing the 2009 1-cent sales tax, school funding, and merit selection.

 

After the governor has laid out his vision for 2013, legislators will begin introducing legislation and holding hearings. To keep pace with the fast paced Capitol issues, follow me on twitter (@KansasBarLeg) for the latest legislative updates. You can also keep tabs on legislative deadlines at http://bit.ly/2013SessionPlanner.

Tags:  Brownback  budget  opening  timeline 

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