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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  COVID-19  legislature  budget  2020 Legislative Session  election  Kansas Supreme Court  Brownback  Supreme Court  Court of Appeals  Judicial Branch  Medicaid expansion  school finance  Special Session  abortion  Emergency Management Act  Fall Legislative Conference  Gannon  Hard 50  merit selection  Sine Die  2016 Session  2017 session  2017-18  Alleyne  First Adjournment  judicial branch budget  judicial selection 

Gov. Brownback Calls Special Legislative Session

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The following is from the July 26 press release from Gov. Sam Brownback.

 

In the interest of protecting public safety and in response to a request from Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Gov. Sam Brownback will call the legislature into special session at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 3.

 

The attorney general formally requested the special session on July 24 for the purpose of repairing Kansas’ "Hard 50” sentence following the June 17 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Alleyne v. United States. Legal experts in the field agree that the Alleyne decision renders the current Kansas "Hard 50” law unconstitutional because a judge rather than the jury makes the sentencing decision. According to the attorney general, the legislature can cure the constitutional defect by adopting a relatively simple procedural fix allowing the jury to make the necessary factual findings before the "Hard 50” sentence is imposed.

 

"The ‘Hard 50’ sentence is a vital public safety tool that has been in place for more than 10 years,” Brownback said. "It is intended to remove the most dangerous and violent killers from society for at least 50 years. The sudden absence of the ‘Hard 50’ sentence poses a real and present danger to the public safety of all Kansans. I am confident the legislature can and will act quickly, with resolve and narrow focus, to protect our citizens by restoring to prosecutors the immediate ability to seek the ‘Hard 50’ sentence for the worst offenders.”

 

Broad bipartisan support exists among the leaders of this legislature that this special session is necessary and is in the best interests of public safety. Additionally, law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies across the state have urged the governor to adopt the attorney general’s recommendation.

 

"We must address this issue to protect all our citizens, but particularly out of concern for the victims of these crimes and their families,” Brownback said. "I agree with the attorney general’s opinion that we face an ‘extraordinary occasion’ sufficient to justify this office exercising its authority to call the Legislature into special session pursuant to Article 1, Section 5 of the Kansas Constitution.”

 

Due to the constitutional and statutory requirement that the state bring criminal defendants to trial in a speedy manner, time is of the essence. After consulting with Attorney General Schmidt and legislative leaders, it was agreed a special session during the first week of September is optimal timing. According to the law enforcement community, that time period effectively protects public safety while allowing the necessary time requested by the attorney general for adequate preparation and planning to ensure a quick, focused and orderly session. According to the attorney general, putting this issue off until next January will "virtually guarantee” an increase in "the number of convicted killers who will be eligible for parole after only 25 years instead of after 50 years.”

 

"It is my hope after talking to legislative leaders that the special session can be completed by the close of business on September 5,” said Brownback.

 

See also http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/state/kansas/gov-sam-brownback-calls-september-special-session-to-rewrite-hard-50-criminal-sentencing-law.

 

The Kansas Legislative Research Staff has put together a list of all 22 Special Sessions and the topic covered by that session. See http://skyways.lib.ks.us/ksleg/KLRD/Publications/2013-Kansas_Legis_Special_Sessions.pdf.

Quick Take

In addition to the "Hard 50” discussion, rumors have been circulating about the possibility of debating a repeal of the death penalty and the confirmation of the 14th Kansas Court of Appeals judge. Gov. Brownback has not appointed anyone but that could be accomplished prior to the September 3 Special Session.
We could also see additional abortion-related legislation. See http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2013/jul/29/kansas-abortion-group-sees-opportunity-special-ses/.

KBA Legislative Meeting

Coincidentally, the Kansas Bar Association is scheduled to hold its legislative meeting on Friday, August 30 at the KBA offices in Topeka. This meeting will cover the issues discussed in the 2013 session, the possible Special Session topics and a look forward to 2014.

 

If you are a KBA member you may get updates on committee activity on our website at http://www.ksbar.org/members/group.asp?id=111712.

Tags:  Alleyne  Brownback  Hard 50  legislative  legislature  Supreme Court 

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2013 Session Adjourns

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
On the 99th day of a promised 80-day session, the Kansas Legislature finally adjourned for the year. Sine die has been scheduled for June 20. Other than officially closing the 2013 legislative session, sine die is important because it allows lawmakers to begin receiving political contributions. Look for those mailers to be sent out asking for contributions for next year’s primary and general elections.

Quick Take:

A very late effort to expand Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s powers to include prosecution of election fraud cases failed early Sunday morning. This bill would have given the secretary of state authority to go after voter fraud. The Kansas House voted 45-64 to kill the measure. See Kansas City Star, Kansas lawmakers fail to expand Kris Kobach’s power, available at http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/02/4270349/kan-lawmakers-fail-to-expand-sec.html.

 

Both chambers worked late into the night and early morning with intent on keeping the calendar set on the 99th day. It costs the state (taxpayers) roughly $45,000 per day to run the statehouse. Given the extended veto session taxpayers paid an extra $405,000 to close out the year.

 

Oddly enough, money issues were the main reason the Veto Session dragged on for an extra nine days. Both chambers could not agree on a tax plan that would help fund the budget and keep the state out of the red. However, in the end enough arms were twisted for the House to pass a tax plan (63-51) that included a partial extension of the sales tax with the possibility of a sales tax buy down should future revenue exceed 102 percent. The sales tax will be kept at 6.15 percent instead of reverting back to 5.7 percent as promised in 2010. The tax bill also adds revenue by reducing income tax deductions, think mortgage interest, and raises more than $300 million for FY 2014. Add these two taxes together and the numbers start to look a little better for positive ending balances. Although the budget does not account for any additional money for K-12 should the Kansas Supreme Court order it.

 

From here look for political points to be made calling the tax plan a tax increase. Democrats and some Republicans see the tax plan as a $777 million tax hike while the governor and his supports call it a tax cut because it lowers income tax rates over the next five years. See

Once the Kansas House passed the tax plan, the Senate could comfortably work on the budget without fear of the House adjourning or leaving town. The budget was a little trimmer that the Senate or governor wanted, especially for Higher Education, which the governor wanted to be held static. The House wanted solid cuts to shrink government and for the most part they got what they wanted. Under the current numbers state agencies should be good till next spring but supplemental budget requests are not out of order for 2014.

 

Finally, the Kansas Legislative Research Department has released two 2013 legislative summaries. These are great resources to find new laws by specific category and they can be found at http://www.kslegisalture.org/li.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart.

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Veto Session Continues

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Kansas Legislature has surpassed its self-imposed 80-day session with no resolution to the remaining issues. The largest trouble spot keeping everyone in the statehouse is the budget. Most of the low hanging fruit has been dealt with but the main issue remains higher education and a possible cap on state employee pay. Both chambers are pushing to retain as much as possible of their budget plan, which should force each side to compromise a little. Right now the House is looking to make deeper cuts into higher education to save enough cash and make retention of the sales tax moot. The Senate, on the other hand, wants to keep spending at a higher rate and use that additional expense as a reason to extend the sales tax. This game has been going on for the entirety of the Veto Session as discussed in the following articles:

Unfortunately this is not the only issue of concern to most KBA members. The elephant in the room remains merit selection of appellate court judges and justices. Last week the KBA voted unanimously to reject the most recent proposal from legislative leadership. This proposal would have allowed the governor to appoint five of the nine members to the Supreme Court nominating commission. This latest effort was simply a bridge too far for the KBA Board of Governors, and they rejected the proposals and issued the following press release: http://ksbar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=456.

 

This was met with a swift reaction by Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), who introduced, at the rail of the statehouse, three new proposals aimed squarely at Kansas appellate courts. These proposals include, HB 2415, which lowers the retirement age of appellate judges from 75 to 65; a proposal to move to a strict federal model of appointing judges with consent of the senate and lifetime appointments for all new judges; and a proposal to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by creating a separate criminal appellate court.

 

Each of these proposals was introduced less than 24 hours after the KBA voted to reject the most recent proposal. These bills will not be heard this session as time and energy is focused on budget, but we can expect a lengthy discussion in 2014. For more news on this issue, please see:

Finally, the Kansas Legislative Research Department has released two 2013 legislative summaries. These are great resources to find new laws by specific category and they can be found at http://www.kslegisalture.org/li.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart.

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Veto Session Opens

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Kansas legislature returns from a five-week spring break to wrap up the 2013 legislative session on Wednesday, May 8. And if they want to keep to an 80-day session, the legislature will need to close by Monday, May 13.

 

To avoid extending the session past 80 days both chambers will have to agree to both a tax plan and a budget. Traditionally, the Veto Session is a quick two- or three-day event that allows the legislature to review and, in some cases, attempt to override, any vetoes signed by the governor. In recent years, these last few days have been devoted to crafting a state budget. One of the main components of this year’s budget is the April Consensus Revenue Estimate. This estimate revised the November numbers and allows for a better FY 2014 picture. This year not much has changed. The estimators found an increase of around $30 million from the FY 2013 numbers but a small decrease of $10 million for FY 2014. So the estimate for revenue projections increased by $20 million for the remained of FY 2013 and FY 2014.

 

Decent news that should help both chambers close out the session. However, the Senate still needs the House to decide on extending the 1 percent sales tax. Extending the sales tax has been a top priority of the governor because it will help offset some of the tax cuts passed last session. Without the sales tax extension higher education is sure to see a larger than anticipated cut to funding. Other state funded programs will also feel the pinch.

 

On the budget side, Gov. Brownback has recommended several items be added to his original budget. They include $16 million to reduce the waiting list on medical services, sweep $9.5 million from the Children’s Initiative fund back into the state general fund and provide $422,000 to fund the 14th Court of Appeals position, which has remained vacant for several years. Starting July 1, 2013, the governor will be able to appoint a person to fill the position with Senate confirmation. The governor’s largest addition is the $202 million in bonds to help pay for Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan.

Besides budget/tax issues both chambers will be working on the omnibus liquor bill to correct some serious flaws before it takes effect. Liquor in the Capitol is one of those issues.

 

Finally the Kansas Legislative Research Department has released two 2013 legislative summaries. These are great resources to find new laws by specific category and they can be found at http://www.kslegislature.org/li.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart.

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2013 KBA President's Cup Golf Tournament

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Kansas Bar Association has officially opened registration for the 2013 KBA President’s Cup Golf Tournament. This year’s tournament will be held at Tallgrass Country Club in Wichita. Tallgrass Country Club is an 18-hole Arthur Hills designed course in the heart of Wichita. For more information about the course, please visit their website at www.tallgrasscc.com.

 

As always, the KBA President’s Cup Golf Tournament kicks off the KBA Annual Meeting, which begins Wednesday, June 19. The golf tournament will be a shotgun start at 11 a.m., and the tournament format will be a four-person scramble. But please remember that to be eligible for any prizes, all four team members must be KBA members!

 

The cost to participate is $90 with additional cost for mulligans, 6-foot trouble string, and 50/50 closest to the pin contest. Proceeds from the KBA President’s Cup Tournament go to the Kansas Bar Foundation.

 

For more information please contact Joe Molina at the KBA at jmolina@ksbar.org.

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Kansas Legislature Reaches First Adjournment

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Kansas legislature has ended the regular legislative session and has left for their spring break. The plan is to return Wednesday, May 8 for the Veto Session, which is a week later than usual. Sen. Anthony Hensley questioned the extended break when he stated that he "thinks that was intentionally set up that way so that they could participate in their leadership roles in the ALEC organization, which to my way of thinking is inappropriate that we would schedule the Kansas legislature, legislative business around when ALEC meets.” See http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/08/hensley-says-republican-leaders-delayed-wrapup-ses/.

 

Nevertheless, Monday, May 13 will be the 80th day. Normally the session runs for 90 days, but this year there has been a move to shorten the session to save money. However, keeping to this 80-day session will be difficult since both chambers are still haggling over the budget and tax policy, neither of which are anywhere near completion. See http://www.kansas.com/2013/04/07/2750861/lawmakers-have-much-to-weigh-over.html.

 

Both chambers will also need to deal with the Consensus Revenue Estimates set to become public on Friday, April 19. If these estimates for FY 2014 are in the red, legislators will need to increase funding, most likely in the form of sales tax extension. If the Kansas House lacks the votes to keep the sales tax cutting spending is the only answer left to them. And cutting would probably start with higher education since the Kansas Senate’s budget only calls for a 2 percent cut while the Kansas House chops 4 percent.

 

Keeping the sales tax at its current level is a major budget policy for the governor, but last week the Kansas House voted down a tax bill that contained the sales tax piece. See http://www.kansas.com/2013/04/05/2749009/kansas-house-votes-overwhelmingly.html. It was mostly political posturing but the vote was instructive because it showed a less than willing appetite for more taxes.

 

Besides working on the budget, the Kansas legislature spent the past week debating, amending, and then passing a number of conference committee reports. These reports contain a number of likeminded issues that are bundled together and passed as one piece of legislation. This process is the epitome of legislative sausage making. Some of the more discussed conference committee reports contained a series of abortion prohibitions, gambling, gun right protections, KDOT and Turnpike merger, and prevailing wage issues.

 

See Sweeping abortion bill sent to governor, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/05/sweeping-abortion-bill-sent-governor/; and Kansas abortion legislation life begins and fertilization, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-06/kansas-abortion-legislation-life-begins-fertilization.

 

See gaming bill, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/sb215/; Senate gambling compromise dies, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-02/senate-gambling-compromise-dies; and Measure to lure casino to SE Kansas fails, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/03/measure-lure-casino-se-kansas-fails/.

 

See Concealed Carry Bill – Conference Committee Report HB 2052, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/documents/ccrb_hb2052_01_0001.pdf. See also http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-05/conceal-carry-gun-expansion-passes-legislature and http://cjonline.com/blog-post/tim-carpenter/2013-04-03/esu-student-wary-knoxs-confidence-firepower-0.

 

In addition, KDOT/Turnpike Merger – Conference Committee Report on HB 2234, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/documents/ccrb_hb2234_02_turnpike.pdf. See Modified merger of KTA-KDOT approved, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-05/modified-merger-kta-kdot-approved; and House, Senate send bill to Brownback that would make KDOT secretary in charge of operating turnpike, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/05/house-senate-send-bill-brownback-would-make-kdot-s/.

 

Here are some of the issues that are on their way to the governor’s desk:

  • HB 2253, major prolife bill passes legislature. The main prolife legislation of the 2013 Kansas legislature was approved Friday, April 5 by the House affirming that life begins at conception and prohibiting the use of tax money for abortion.
  • SB 61, legislature takes aim at human trafficking. This bill creates the crime of "commercial sexual exploitation of a child.
  • SB 16, Kansas gets its own RICO law. There is a federal anti-racketeering act known by the acronym RICO. Now, Kansas has its own version aimed at street gangs and drug distributors.
  • HB 2234, closer tie between KDOT, Turnpike backed. Gov. Sam Brownback proposed the merger of these two entities as a way to save money. On Friday, April 5 the legislature passed a bill tying the two agencies closer together, giving the governor a partial win.
  • HB 2252, law eliminates time limit on rape cases. Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law Monday, April 1 that abolishes the statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape cases.
  • SB 124, restraint of trade act. The bill would create a new section that would declare the purpose of the new section and the amendments to existing sections is to clarify and reduce uncertainty or ambiguity in the application of the KRTA and applicable evidentiary standards to certain business contracts, agreements, and arrangements that are not intended to unreasonably restrain trade or commerce and do not contravene public welfare.

The KBA has tracked the following bills:

  • SB 81, requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from publicly accessible records. This bill was amended on the House floor and recommended for passage. This bill passed the Kansas Senate 40-0 (KBA supports this bill).
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015, marital property. Both bills have been recommended favorable for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Passage is probable (KBA supports both bills).
  • HB 2166, medical assistance recovery act, was passed as amended by the Kansas House. The KBA Title Standard Committee provided the amending language that Rep. Blaine Finch used to clarify the lien priority status. The Kansas House approved this bill 112-11 (KBA was neutral on this bill but for the floor amendment).
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was placed on the Senate Consent Calendar as an uncontroversial bill. Passage appears imminent (The KBA supported this bill).
  • HB 2398, relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, was given a hearing on Monday, March 18 but the House Judiciary Committee will hold this bill over to 2014 (The KBA introduced this bill).

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart at http://bit.ly/KBABillTrackingChart.

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Governor Signs Merit Selection Reform Bill

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Legislators had a short week as they push toward First Adjournment, which is set for April 5. Both chambers continue to hammer out budget details and try to figure out a tax plan that will cover the projected budget hole. The real telling point of the state’s fiscal health is the April Consensus Revenue Estimates. Presently the executive branch is taking a "prepare for the worse, hope for the best approach” when they discuss the FY 2014 budget. The governor’s staff has already come out with a statement saying that failure to pass the sale’s tax extension will lead to further cuts. See http://bit.ly/cjonline_brownback_salestax.

 

On Wednesday, March 27, Gov. Sam Brownback signed HB 2019, which reforms the method of selecting Kansas Court of Appeal judges. This action makes Kansas only the third state in the country to have dual methods of selecting its appellate level judges and justices. See http://bit.ly/judicialselection_nj.

 

HB 2019 becomes effective on July 1, 2013. The governor will be able to appoint a judge to the Court of Appeals later this year should funding for the 14th judge be approved by the legislature. At the present moment there appears to be enough money to make this happen.

Quick Take:

Attendees included (l-r): Sen. Julia Lynn (R-Olathe); Rep. Shanti Ghandi (R-Topeka); Rep. Mark Kahrs (R-Wichita); Hon. Anthony Powell; Rep. Jerry Lunn (R-Overland Park); Speaker of the House Ray Merrick (R-Stillwell); Gov. Sam Brownback; Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park); Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth); Rep. Charles Macheers (R-Shawnee); Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe); Rep. Keith Esau (R-Olathe); Sen. Mitch Holmes (R- St. John); Secretary of State Kris Kobach; Rep. John Rubin (R-Kansas City); Rep. Troy Waymaster (R-Luray); and Sen. Terry Bruce (R-Nickerson).

 

The governor held a press conference prior to the bill signing and it may be viewed at http://bit.ly/brownback_pressconf. You may also view the press release online at http://bit.ly/brownback_pressrelease.

 

Reaction to the first bill signing of the 2013 session has been quick. The following articles discuss the change to merit selection:

Besides the bill signing the KBA has been tracking conference committee work this week. The KBA continues to monitor the budget conference committee, which will determine if attorney registration fees are swept into the state general fund (SGF), if docket fees will be swept into the state general fund, if the Kansas Judicial Council will be fully funding (current recommendations is to cut 30K for FY 2014 and FY 2015), and to determine how e-filing is funded (with SGF funds or attorney registration fees).

 

In addition, the KBA is tracking the Judiciary Conference Committee as they work through the following bills:

  • HB 2204, dealing with redemption of real property;
  • SB 20, dealing with poverty affidavits;
  • HB 2164, relating to citizen grand juries and jury service;
  • SB 122, dealing with electronic service of process; and
  • SB 124, pertaining to the Kansas restraint of trade act.

The KBA is also tracking the Senate Judiciary and House Corrections Conference Committee as they work through bills dealing with criminal acts. Please be advised that these bills primarily deal with sentencing grid, statute of limitations of rape cases, and all the death penalty bills.

 

KBA-sponsored or supported bills include:

  • SB 81, requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from publicly accessible records was amended on the House floor and recommended for passage, and passed the Kansas Senate 40-0 (KBA supports this bill).
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, HB 2015, marital property. were recommended favorable for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee; passage is probable (KBA supports both bills).
  • HB 2166, medical assistance recovery act, was passed as amended by the Kansas House. The KBA Title Standard Committee provided the amending language that Rep. Blaine Finch used to clarify the lien priority status and the Kansas House approved this bill 112-11 (KBA was neutral on this bill but for the floor amendment).
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was placed on the Senate Consent Calendar as an uncontroversial bill; passage appears imminent (KBA supported this bill).
  • HB 2398, relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, was given a hearing on Monday, March 18 but the House Judiciary Committee will hold this bill over to 2014 (KBA introduced this bill).

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart at http://bit.ly/KBABillTrackingChart.

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First Adjournment in Sight

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
This was a busy week for the legislature as each chamber worked on their versions of the budget and tax plans. On Tuesday the House passed out their version of a tax plan with the Senate waiting till Thursday to pass their budget. The differences are significant and each chamber will need to negotiate a final budget with an ending balance of 7.5 percent. The Kansas House will look to keep the 4 cents of the penny sales tax that was to expire on June 30, 2013, to back fill the Kansas Department of transportation. This is a revenue increase to help fill the income tax hole created in 2012. It has become tradition to use the Kansas Department of Transportation as a piggy bank to shore up state general funds, and many were concerned that this was an end around to accomplish just that. But in the end the House decided that keeping 4 cents and scuttling the remaining 6 cents while cutting certain income tax deductions was the best course of action to take. The Senate tax plan raises $316 million in FY 2014 by keeping the 1-cent sales tax and phasing out income tax deductions. The Senate version also has income tax cuts.

Quick Take:

On Monday, March 25 the KBA, and the Kansas County and District Attorney Association will co-host the second Lunch and 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 Rep. Rob Bruchman for making this event possible.

 

First Adjournment is literally right around the corner. The legislature will work on the floor till Wednesday then take a four-day weekend, returning on Monday to finish out the session. Budget and tax work will be pushed off till the Veto Session, which begins on May 8.

 

The KBA has been following several bills and their current statuses are as follows:

  • SB 81, requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from publicly accessible records, was amended on the House floor and recommended for passage and passed the Kansas Senate 40-0 (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015, marital property, both bills have been recommended favorable for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee and passage is probable (KBA supports both bills);
  • HB 2166, medical assistance recovery act, was passed as amended by the Kansas House 112-11. The KBA Title Standards Committee provided the amending language that Rep. Blaine Finch used to clarify the lien priority status. (KBA was neutral on this bill but for the floor amendment);
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was placed on the Senate Consent Calendar as an uncontroversial bill; passage appears imminent. (KBA supported this bill); and
  • HB 2398, relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, was given a hearing on Monday, March 18 but the House Judiciary Committee will hold this bill over to 2014. (KBA introduced this bill).

In addition, post-turnaround hearings focus on state budget issues. For the next several weeks we can anticipate a number of bills that set up fiscal budgets for various state agencies and for the Judicial Branch. These bills include:

  • SB 218, entire amount of docket fees shall be credited to the judicial branch docket fee fund, created in this bill, with certain exceptions. Extending the judicial branch surcharge for two years (KBA supports the surcharge but is neutral on docket fee reorganization);
  • HB 2338, judicial branch docket fee;
  • HB 2377, relating to court fees and cost, judicial branch surcharge fund (KBA supports the surcharge); and
  • judicial budget subcommittee report.

Also of interest is HB 2384, on July 1, 2013, all new hires and state agency attorneys, supervisors and positions that perform information technology functions are unclassified; certain exceptions. This bill was recommended favorable for passage by the Committee on Appropriations.

 

Senate Sub. for HB 2141, concerning public funds, lobbyists, was recommended for passage by the Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government. Originally this bill would have prohibited the use of public funds to lobby the legislature or to pay for membership dues to an association that lobbies the legislature. This language was struck and replaced with a reporting requirement. This new language can be found at http://bit.ly/SubforHB2141_ReportingLobbyist.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart at http://bit.ly/KBABillTrackingChart.

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HB 2019 on its way to the Governor's Desk

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Last week saw several very large issues come up for debate in both chambers. The Kansas House worked and passed three gun rights bill, including one allowing open carry in the Capitol. The Kansas Senate debated the tax bill, which included the extension of the sales tax. But for lawyers the most significant vote came on Wednesday when the Kansas Senate voted to pass HB 2019. As we can all recall, HB 2019 eliminate s the current method for selecting Court of Appeal judges and replaces it with the federal model of governor appoint with consent of the senate. HB 2019 made its way to the Senate floor after bypassing the hearing stage in the Kansas Senate. Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) carried the bill, which was passed on a final action vote of 28-12. HB 2019 is on pace to be the first bill signed into law this year. This issue has received a fair amount of statewide attention. Attached are a few editorials, letter to the editors, and news articles on the topic.

Quick Take:

HB 2019 was passed by the Kansas Senate 28-12. Below is report of how each senator voted on this very important KBA issue.

On roll call, the vote was: Yeas, 28; Nays, 12:

Yeas: Abrams, Apple, Arpke, Bowers, Bruce, Denning, Donovan, Fitzgerald, Holmes, Kerschen, King, Knox, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Masterson, Melcher, O'Donnell, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, Smith, Tyson, and Wagle.

Nays: Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, McGinn, Pettey, V. Schmidt, and Wolf.

In addition to efforts to reform the judicial system the Kansas Senate has been working on its tax package. The big issues are the sales tax increase, home mortgage interest deductions, and real estate tax deductions; The Senate voted to keep the sales tax at it current level. This was a major change from the position staked out three years ago when the sales tax increase went into effect. Eleven senators who voted against the sales tax when it was first passed voted to keep it this time around. See http://cjonline.com/news/state/2013-03-14/sixteen-gop-senators-flip-support-elevated-sales-tax.

 

However, the Senate did agree to a tiered reduction of the home mortgage interest deduction and keep the charitable contributions deduction. The Kansas House is not as amenable to keep the sale’s tax at its current level and they look to deal with budget shortfalls by transferring funds from TWorks project in KDOT. More work will need to be done before a final budget is reached. Look for across the board cuts to higher education and various state agencies. Please keep in mind that this does not account for any additional spending in K-12 and if the Supreme Court upholds the recent Gannon decision the Legislature will have to find an additional $400 million. Mediation on the Gannon case will take place this fall.

 

The KBA has been following several bills and their current statuses are as follows:

  • SB 81, requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from publicly accessible records, passed out favorable by the House Judiciary Committee last week with the addition of language from SB 60. (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015, marital property, received a hearing on Thursday, March 14. It was well received by the Senate Judiciary Committee and should be discussed in the coming days. (KBA supports both bill);
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, is set for a hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Room 346-S (KBA supports this bill); and
  • HB 2398, relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, is set for a hearing at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Room 112-N. The KBA drafted this proposal after a yearlong review process.

In addition, post-turnaround hearings focus on state budget issues. For the next several weeks we can anticipate a number of bills that set up fiscal budgets for various state agencies and for the Judicial Branch. These bills include:

  • SB 218, entire amount of docket fees shall be credited to the judicial branch docket fee fund, created in this bill, with certain exceptions. Extending the judicial branch surcharge for two years (KBA supports the surcharge but is neutral on docket fee reorganization);
  • HB 2338, Judicial Branch docket fee; and
  • HB 2377, relating to court fees and cost, judicial branch surcharge fund (KBA supports the surcharge); and; Judicial Budget subcommittee report.

Also of interest is HB 2384, on July 1, 2013, all new hires and state agency attorneys, supervisors and positions that perform information technology functions are unclassified; certain exceptions. What HB 2384 would do is convert all classified state agency lawyers into unclassified employees; this will lessen their job protection as outline by the civil service act. The Committee on Appropriations will work this bill later this week.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart at http://ksbar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=363.

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First Adjournment Push Begins

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last week was a short week for legislators after coming back from a four-day break following "turnaround.” Turnaround marked the last time bills could be passed out of its House of Origins and continue through the legislative process towards the governor’s desk. However, both chambers recognize that First Adjournment is only three weeks away and they have a host of issues to resolve before they head off for spring break. The most pressing is budget and tax items, and neither side has completed the budget process. The House Committee on Appropriations continues to review subcommittee reports from various state agencies; this means a competed product is not far off. However, it has almost become tradition for both chambers to push the final budget write-up into the veto session, which starts on May 8.

Quick Take:

On Monday, March 25 the KBA and the Kansas Association of County and District Attorneys will hosted the second Lunch & Learn with Lawyer-Legislators at the Kansas Capitol. This event allows lawyer-legislators to receive 1.0 hour of ethics and professionalism CLE credit without leaving the Capitol. The KBA hopes to provide our hardworking and time-depraved lawyer-legislators with additional opportunities to receive CLE credit during the session.

 

The most pressing KBA issue is HB 2019, which eliminates the nominating commission and replaces it with a Senate confirmation process for only the Kansas Court of Appeals. Last week, HB 2019 was referred to the Committee of the Whole in the Senate, and this means HB 2019 will bypass the committee hearing process and be debated on the floor of the Kansas Senate. The Senate will convene today at 2:30 p.m. to debate on HB 2019.

 

The KBA has been following several bills and their current statuses are as follows:

  • SB 81, requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from publicly accessible records, passed out of the Kansas Senate on a 40-0 vote and is set for hearing in the House on March 11 (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, passed the Kansas House 119-0 (KBA supports this bill); and HB 2015, marital property, passed the Kansas House 116-8 (KBA supports this bill) both set for hearing in the Senate on March 13 (KBA supports this bill);
  • HB 2012, commission on judicial performance, sunset in 2017, did not advance out of the Kansas House;
  • HB 2205, adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed the Kansas House 123-0 (KBA supports this bill); and
  • HB 2233, protective parent reform act, did not advance out of the Kansas House (KBA opposed this bill).

In addition, post-turnaround hearings focus on state budget issues. For the next several weeks we can anticipate a number of bills that set up fiscal budgets for various state agencies and for the Judicial Branch. These bills include:

  • SB 218, entire amount of docket fees shall be credited to the judicial branch docket fee fund, created in this bill, with certain exceptions; extending the judicial branch surcharge for two years;
  • HB 2338, judicial branch docket fee; and
  • HB 2377, relating to court fees and cost, judicial branch surcharge fund (KBA supports the surcharge); and Judicial Budget subcommittee report.

Interestingly, last week proposal from the Committee on Appropriations called for the diverting of attorney registration fees from the Bar Disciplinary Fund to pay for e-filing and e-courts. The proposal, introduced by Rep. Degraaf and supported by Rep. Mark Kahrs, would sweep attorney registration fees for FY 2014 and FY 2015. The two-year approach to budgeting was implemented by the governor, which accounts for the sweeps lasting two cycles. The idea is to use $1.1 million in FY 2014 and $600,000 in 2015 to complete statewide e-filing. The remainder will be used to accelerate statewide e-courts. The committee believes that accelerated e-courts will allow the Judicial Branch to experience savings sooner rather than later. There is no hard data that indicates when the savings will materialize.

 

Also of interest is HB 2384, on July 1, 2013, all new hires and state agency attorneys, supervisors and positions that perform information technology functions are unclassified; certain exceptions. What HB 2384 proposes to accomplish is the conversion of all classified state agency lawyers into unclassified employees. This will lessen their job protection as outline by the civil service act. The hearing was held on Monday, March 11. For more information, see http://cjonline.com/news/2013-03-08/committee-postpones-hearing-unclassifying-workers and the testimony both for and against this bill at http://ksbar.org/associations/13344/files/Proctor_HB2384Testimony.pdf.

 

Finally, the Kansas Revised Limited Liability Companies Act proposal crafted by the KBA has been introduced into the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs; it is listed as HB 2398. This bill is not online yet but should be by tomorrow. No hearing is set but I am working with the chair to schedule a hearing for the week of March 18.

 

For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart online at http://bit.ly/KBABillTrackingChart.

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