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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  merit selection  SCR 1610  Senate  Sine Die  State of the Judiciary  2019 Golf Tournament  2020 legislative session  Caleb Stegall  conference  election day 

Restart!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, March 11, 2019

The KS Legislature returned from the short Turnaround break on Wednesday, March 6th. The short week was stacked with big bills and Capitol visits. The KS House decided to debate SB 22, tax cut bill, on Thursday, March 7th. This was a bit of a surprise as the House jumped into the controversial issue after a very sluggish first half of the session. SB 22 included an income tax decrease which allows the itemization of deductions. It also includes an internet sales tax portion and a food sales tax cut. Some are concerned that the fiscal note is foggy, and the total amount of the tax cut is unknown. The House passes the bill 76-43. Many believe that Gov. Kelly will veto this bill. See; https://www.kcur.org/post/kansas-house-presses-tax-relief-edges-closer-showdown-governor#stream/0; See also; https://realprosperityks.com/tax-migration-is-not-real-a-twitter-thread/

The KBA testified on two hearings this week. The KBA opposed SB 157, presumptive shared parenting time on temporary orders and supported SB 20, extending the docket fee surcharge fee.

SB 157 had 23 proponents and 7 opponents. The proponents included mostly father’s who had difficulties during their child custody hearings and were given less than 50% custody of their children. The proponents were organized by the National Parents Organization and the Kansas Family Preservation Coalition.  Opponents included Hon. Keven O’Grady, Hon. Merlin Wheeler, Dr. Bud Dale, Sara Rust-Martin from the Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence, Prof. Linda Elrod, and Charlie Harris. The KBA was represented by Ron Nelson.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took over an hour for this hearing but declined to ask a single question of either side. It should also be noted that several sponsors of SB 157 are in Senate leadership including Senate President Susan Wagle and Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine. There is a total of 17 sponsors of SB 157 which include Senators from both parties. We will continue to monitor this bill. See; https://www.wibw.com/content/news/Proposed-bill-would-impose-presumption-granting-parents-temporary-joint-custody-506838491.html

The KBA then testified on SB 20. Originally this bill extended the docket fee surcharge for two more years. However, the Senate removed the sunset provision making the surcharge fee permanent. While the KBA supports the surcharge, it has always been our position that it should be temporary. As such we asked the House Judiciary Committee to re-insert the two-year sunset provision.

Finally, the KBA will hold its KBA Day at the Capitol next Tuesday, March 12th. This year our volunteers will meet with 34 freshman legislators to discuss the need for judicial branch pay increases. Our volunteers include Appellate judges, District Court judges, Magistrate judges, clerks and several KBA lawyer members. We will begin our day at the KBA offices with a welcome from our president Sarah Warner and then a short presentation from Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. Our first meeting begins promptly at 10:00 and continue thru 2:30pm. We will have lunch at the Capitol in RM 142-S at noon.

These legislator meetings come at an opportune time since the judicial branch budget will be discussed in committee this week. We look forward to productive meetings with our legislators.

Tags:  2019 session  2019-20  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Weekly20190312 

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Midway Point for Regular Portion of the 2019 Legislative Session

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, March 5, 2019

 

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.

Tags:  2019 session  2019-20  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  midway  Weekly20190305 

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Turnaround 2019, Part Deux

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, February 25, 2019

In one week, the Kansas Legislature will hit its midway point where bills not passed out of their House of Origin can no longer continue through the process. This day, commonly referred to as Turnaround, will see the bulk of bills introduced in 2019 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 chambers’ Federal & State Committees), or they can have their bill “blessed” by leadership. To be “blessed”, the bill must be referred to one of these exempt committees.

The KBA had a productive Week 6. The LLC bill, HB 2105, was passed by the Kansas House 117-0. HB 2105 has already been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rep. Fred Patton carried the bill on the floor with supporting comments from Rep. John Carmichael. We appreciate their efforts!

HB 2072, dealing with mandatory arbitration provisions in insurance contracts was passed out of House Judiciary Committee on a voice vote. Hb 2072 still needs to pass the full House or it will become a casualty of the deadline.

The KBA also testified in support of the Kansas Judicial Branch Budget. This testimony was submitted in the House General Government Budget Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Subcommittee.

It should also be noted that several bills of interest to the KBA have not yet been given hearing.  Those include, HB 2331, mandatory reporting of sexual abuse by clergy. The Chair has asked the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mark Schreiber (R-Emporia), to work with the Catholic Charities on language that both could support. HB 2196, creating the presumption in favor of shared parenting time for temporary orders. The House Judiciary Committee did not take up this bill. It still could be blessed, but no request has been made yet. HB 2192, which establishes that court of appeals judges would be nominated by the Supreme Court nominating commission. Hearings were cancelled for HB 2115/SB 56, which would require use of software that would verify hours billed by contractors under certain state contracts. However, the sponsors of this bill might try to insert language into an appropriations bill. This was a tactic used in the State of Virginia to create a pilot program using this software.

Finally, we have scheduled our KBA Day @ the Capitol for March 12th. This is a great opportunity for members of the KBA to join me at the Capitol in Topeka for a day, meet certain key legislators in their offices, observe committee and possibly floor action in the House and/or Senate, and get a true front row experience on the legislative process. If you would like to join us this year, please contact me for more details. I can be reached via email at jmolina@ksbar.org.

Tags:  2019 session  2019-20  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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Turnaround 2019

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Kansas Legislature blew past its bill introduction deadline last Friday by filing more than 150 bills in five days. Many of those bills will not make it past the next deadline—Turnaround—which is set for February 28th. This is the day that bills that have not been passed out of their House of Origin (the chamber in which the bill was introduced) can no longer be worked. There are several ways around this deadline, but the most popular is having the bill “blessed,” which is to refer it to an exempt committee. Exempt committees include House and Senate Fed and State, House Appropriations, and Senate Ways and Means. Still, the vast majority of bills won’t receive hearings, and some that do will never make it above the line for consideration. Those bills will have to wait until 2020.

That does not mean there isn’t enough work to go around. Both chambers tackled KPERS bills and the Senate even passed a tax bill before March. The Senate KPERs bill, SB 9, would pay off a loan worth $115 million. The House KPERs bill, HB 2197, would amortize KPERs payments, save the state in the short term but cost more than $7 billion in the long run. In a bit of political theatre, the House reject HB 2197 by a vote of 36-87. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article226263235.html This was a large part of the Kelly agenda that now needs to be strategized.

The KBA was fortunate to get two bills out early. The Senate passed SB 20 35-5. This bill extends the surcharge fee indefinitely. This is a $9 million piece of the judicial branch budget. It heads to the House, where the KBA will continue its advocacy. The KBA was also able to get HB 2039 out of the House on a vote of 119-0. HB 2039 allows tribal court judgments to be recognized in Kansas District Court. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The KBA was also able to get its Revised LLC bill, HB 2105 out of committee on a voice vote. HB 2105 still need to pass out of the House to be safe from the deadline, and we are focusing our efforts toward that result.

KBA sections have been busy reviewing several pieces of legislation:

 

HB 2008

Exempting Kansas from daylight savings

AG

HB 2196

Creating a presumption of shared parenting time for temporary orders

Family

HB 2273

Establishing the wind generation permit and property protection act

TS/RP

SB 37

Requiring a duly ordained minister of religion or an employee of or volunteer for a religious organization to report certain abuses and neglect of children

Religion

SB 157

Creating a presumption of shared parenting time for temporary orders

Family

SB 177

Providing the court of appeals jurisdiction to review final orders of the state board of tax appeals.

Tax

 

We will update the Advocate if these bills are set for hearings.

However, the bills that gained the most news attention this past week deal with same-sex marriage.

HB 2320

Enacting the marriage and constitution restoration act

HB 2231

Creating the optional elevated marriage act

 

Rep. Randy Garber (R-Sabetha) sponsored both of those measures. He is joined by Rep. Owen Donohoe (R-Shawnee); Rep. David French (R-Lansing); Rep. Cheryl Helmer (R-Mulvane) Rep. Richard Highland (R-Wamego); Rep. Steve Huebert (R-Valley Center); Rep. Ken Rahjes (R-Agra) and Rep. Bill Rhiley (R-Wellington). Rep. Ken Rahjes (R-Agra) joins this group in sponsoring HB 2321.

See; https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article226263490.html; See also; https://www.newsweek.com/kansas-bills-parody-same-sex-marriage-lgbtq-rights-drag-queen-story-time-gay-1331122?amp=1&__twitter_impression=true; and; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190214/vile-hateful-and-disrespectful-lgbtq-lobbyists-blast-attempt-to-undermine-legitimacy-of-kansas-same-sex-marriages.

 

  

Finally, Shelby Lopez, Executive Director of the Kansas Bar Association, presented Rep. Blaine Finch (Left photo) with a plaque to commemorate his service as House Judiciary Chair. Ms. Lopez also presented Rep. Fred Patton (Right photo) with the KBA House Gavel as the current House Judiciary Chair. We appreciate their service to Kansas.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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Four Weeks In—and Some Progress

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, February 11, 2019

The Kansas Legislature is in full swing now. The Senate is working tax bills, the House is looking at school finance appropriations and the Judiciary Committees of both chambers are pushing bills out to the floor.

State Issues

The most significant items this week were the passage of SB 9 and SB 22 by the Senate. SB 9 repays $115 million to KPERS, SB 22 is the windfall tax cut that is estimated to cost $191 million. These two pieces of legislation put a very large dent in the revenue surplus. See; https://www.pionline.com/article/20190207/ONLINE/190209857/kansas-senate-passes-bill-issuing-115-million-to-kpers;, See also; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190207/kansas-senate-adopts-190-million-windfall-income-tax-reduction-bill.

The House has already introduced its plan to deal with KPERs in HB 2197. That bill would amortize KPERs for 30 years, and save the state some money in the short term; long term numbers would run into the billions.

Gov. Kelly has stated publicly that this would be a return to a Brownback style tax policy. See; https://www.leavenworthtimes.com/opinion/20190207/true-blue-bill-would-destabilize-our-recovering-economy. The question now turns to the House and whether there is an appetite to pass the Senate work product, pass its own tax policy bill or just let it hang there for a bit. Will be interesting to see.

Court Issues

The Kansas Judicial Branch had a busy week as well. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss gave his 8th State of the Judiciary Speech. He focused on pay increases for judges and staff. Kansas ranks 51st in the nation for district court judge salaries. The state doesn’t rank much better for other judges and staff either. See; http://kscourts.org/Court-Administration/Compensation_Study/index.html

Chief Justice Nuss also pointed out some good things happening in Kansas courts, specifically some specialty courts. It was a well-attended speech with the Governor/ Lt. Gov, KSAG and several legislators in attendance. The entire speech can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Grk1-a-ju58?autoplay=1&rel=0

The Judicial Branch also got its surcharge extension bill out of Senate Judiciary. This bill is worth $9 million to the judiciary budget. It has been approved six times now. Sen. Vic Miller (D-Topeka) did amend the bill to remove the sunset so the courts do not have to ask for extensions every two years. SB 20 heads to the Senate floor as amended.

Rep. Russ Jennings (R-Lakin) has introduced a bill to return the selection of Kansas Court of Appeal judges to the Supreme Court nominating commission. HB 2192 would repeal the current governor appoint/senate confirm model. The KBA has a long-standing policy of supporting the merit selection process, even for the Kansas Court of Appeals. The KBA opposed the governor appoint/senate confirm model when it was introduced.

KBA Issues

The KBA had an eventful week under the dome. First, the Kansas House passed out HB 2039, concerning recognition of tribal court judgment,  without incident. The bill moves to the Senate for hearings. The KBA continues to support the measure. The House also approved HB 2038, automatic revocation of inheritance rights upon divorce. The KBA is closely tracking this bill’s progress.

Two KBA bills were given hearings this past week: HB 2072 dealing with arbitration in insurance contracts and HB 2105 updating the LLC Act. American Casualty and Property Insurance opposed HB 2072 because it would like to make arbitration mandatory in its insurance contracts

I am working with Chairman Patton to get both of these bills passed out of committee.

The KBA also attended a meeting via conference call on HB 2115/SB 56 concerning verification of billable hours by state contractors. These identical bills would require any company with a state contract over $100K to install software that would track their computer activity when working on the state contract. The conference call was attended by over a dozen organizations/associations who oppose these bills.

Finally, there are two family law bills that impact the KBA. The first is HB 2196 creating a presumption of shared parenting time in temporary orders. The KBA Family Law section opposed a similar bill in 2018 and is reviewing this bill now. The sponsors of the bill include: Rep. Jeff Pittman (D-Leavenworth); Rep. Francis Awerkamp (R-St. Marys); Rep. Emil Bergquist (R-Park City); Rep. Ronald Ellis (R-Meriden); Rep. John Eplee (R-Atchison); Rep. Ron Highland (R-Wamego); Rep. Don Hineman (R-Dighton); and Rep. John Resman (R-Olathe).

The second is the HB 2164, repeal of the Adoption Protection Act. The Adoption Protection Act was amended into a bill the KBA supported last session and passed via conference committee.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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Battle of Priorities

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, February 4, 2019

The Kansas Legislature made several significant moves the last week of January. First, Gov. Kelly announced her Medicaid Expansion bill. The bill officially introduced by Rep. Wolfe Moore (D- Kansas City) will cost around $15 million. It is the same bill that the House debated a year ago. See; https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-kelly-releases-medicaid-expansion-bill/; See also; https://www.kcur.org/post/kansas-gov-kelly-goes-medicaid-expansion-plan-almost-worked#stream/0

Not to be outdone, Senate President Susan Wagle looks to quickly pass out of committee a tax cut bill aimed at the federal tax windfall. That bill, SB 22, if approved, will allow Kansas residents to take advantage of the increased federal standard deduction while being able to itemize on their state taxes. See; http://www.hutchnews.com/news/20190129/sen-susan-wagle-plans-swift-action-on-kansas-tax-reform-test-of-veto-power; See also; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190131/kansas-corporations-line-up-for-majority-of-senate-panels-191-million-in-tax-breaks?nocache=1

The cost of the bill runs around $200 million in year one. It would put Gov. Kelly’s budget agenda in jeopardy by eating up some of the revenue she would need to fund expansion, school finance and DCF increases. If all those things passed along with SB 22, the state would be in the red by 2020. See; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190131/sen-anthony-hensley-senate-president-susan-wagle-should-take-own-advice-not-squander-surplus

Also in play is SB 9 that transfers $115 million from the state general fund to pay for KPERS. The Senate Ways and Means Committee recommended this transfer on January 30th. This would be another blow to the Kelly agenda since the governor wants to amortize KPERS, save this money now and put it towards other programs.

Last week, the KBA testified on three bills and set hearings for two more. The KBA supported HB 2020 dealing with attorney registration; SB 20 extending the surcharge docket fee and HB 2039, Tribal Judgments.

The KBA once again supported extending the surcharge docket fee. There was little opposition to SB 20, and it should move smoothly through the House. On a broader judicial salary note—The National Conference of State Courts released its judicial salary report last week. Kansas now ranks dead last for district court judge pay. Here is a link to that report. https://www.ncsc.org/salarytracker

HB 2039 is a judicial council bill, and it to faced little opposition. However, a friendly amendment was added by Rep. Ralph that made it quite clear this bill would not alter the sovereign rights of tribal nations. Rep. Carmichael also wanted the record to reflect that HB 2039 had nothing to do with Sharia Law.

This week is a busy one for the KBA:

Monday, February 4th—House Judiciary; Hearings on HB 2072, amending the uniform arbitration act; HB 2105, updating the LLC act. The KBA introduced both bills and plan to testify.

Tuesday, February 5th—Senate Judiciary; Hearing on SB 55, uniform partition of heir’s property act. The KBA will also host the WBA legislative reception from 5-7 pm at the Gernon Law Center, 1200 SW Harrison, in Topeka.

Wednesday, February 6th—Slam Dunk CLE in Manhattan at 10:20; Kansas Supreme Court State of the Judiciary speech at 12:30. The KBA is sponsoring the reception after the speech.

Thursday, February 7th—KBF Board meeting at the KBA offices. Court Appreciation dinner 6-9pm at Topeka Country Club.

Friday, February 8th—KBA Board meeting at the KBA offices

Saturday, February 9th—Title Standard Committee meeting in Wichita. Discuss SB 55, HB 2038, automatic revocation upon divorce, Contract for deeds proposal.

Things are really picking up at the Capitol; it’s a good place to visit. Come visit and look around. Something interesting happens every day.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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Slow Burn

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, January 28, 2019

Kansas Legislators entered the second week of the session still in a bit of a honeymoon phase. Bills have been rolling out slower than previous years, fewer hearings have been set. Some attribute this to a feeling-out stage with the new administration, while others believe the mass roll-out of bills will hit next week.

There was some big news last week: Gov. Kelly rolled out her Council on Education, created via Executive Order. See: https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190124/gov-laura-kelly-issues-order-authorizing-education-advisory-council

This advisory council will study how best to invest in Kansas education system. There are no legislators on this council.

Not to be outdone, Senate President Susan Wagle created a new tax committee that will consider windfall legislation based on the federal tax cut. President Wagle named herself as chairperson. See: http://www.gctelegram.com/news/20190123/wagle-takes-charge-of-tax-windfall-panel

Sen. Tom Holland (D-Baldwin City) introduced SB 37 – requiring a duly ordained minister of religion or an employee of or volunteer for a religious organization to report certain abuse and neglect of children. Sen. Holland has a constituent who is a victim of abuse and brought this bill on their behalf. See: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/state-government/2019/jan/23/sen-holland-introduces-bill-to-make-church-clergy-mandatory-reporters-of-suspected-sex-crimes/

The KBA introduced two bills this week; Revised LLC Update and the uniform arbitration act contract for insurance fix. The LLC bill is being finalized by the revisor’s office, but the arbitration bill has hit the website. It is: HB 2072 – Amending the uniform arbitration act of 2000 to address validity of an agreement to arbitrate in a contract of insurance

The LLC bill was crafted by Bill Matthews, Bill Quick, Prof. Webb Hecker and Prof. Virginia Harper-Ho. These members worked closely with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, as well as other interested parties, on this proposed legislation and they will represent the KBA for the LLC hearing. Larry Rute and Robert Sullivan will testify for the arbitration bill. We appreciate these individuals and their efforts on behalf of the KBA.

The KBA provided testimony on HB 2039—Tribal Judgments this week. Also supporting the bill was the Kansas Judicial Council. The hearing was held open until Monday to allow any tribal elders an opportunity to testify.

Next week the KBA will testify on HB 2020 - Changing the supreme court clerk's information requirements for licensed attorneys and changing procedures related to the supreme court nominating commission and the judicial district nominating commissions. This bill would repeal changes made ito attorney registration in 2016. The KBA supported this proposal in 2017.

The KBA will also testify on SB 20 – Extending the judicial branch surcharge fee; the KBA has supported this bill since its inception.

Tags:  2019 session  2019-20  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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The Kelly Budget

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Kansas Legislature has just wrapped up its first week of session. The big story this week was the State of the State address by Gov. Kelly, followed by the release of her budget.

Gov. Kelly laid out her priorities, which include: full funding for K12, expansion of Medicaid, engaging on rural Kansas issues, and rebuilding DCF and Kansas foster care system. You can view the State of the State address here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op6gwtuGDqU

Her budget echoed those priorities in a bit more detail. The first big change in the budget is the move back to a one-year budget cycle. Under the last administration budgets were set for two years and recalculated in the out year. However, Kelly kept K12 funding on a two-year cycle.

The Kelly budget calls for an additional $364 Million for K12 to be phased in. This amount should satisfy the court order and end the cycle of litigation on this topic. Kelly also added $14 million in 2020 and $20 million in 2021 for Medicaid expansion. Many believe this is not the true amount to cover the expansion. The Kelly budget also pays off the PMIB loan while re-amortizing KPERS.

You can read the entire budget presentation here - https://budget.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/Directors_Overview_FY2020-1-17-2019.pdf

The governor also recommends almost $22 million more for the Judicial Branch Budget in 2020. The breakdown is as follows: $300k for administration salaries; $1.5 million for Appellate Salaries and $18.3 million for district court salaries. These recommendations can be found on pages 197-210 on the linked site. See: https://budget.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/FY2020_GBR_Vol2-1-17-2019.pdf This amount is the total OJA has requested for salary adjustments.

OJA has introduced two bills, SB 20 the surcharge extension bill which the KBA supported in the past, and SB 19 dealing with pre-sentencing reports. The pre-sentencing report bill simply adds community correction centers to the list of entities with the ability to see pre-sentencing reports.

The Kansas Judicial Council introduced HB 2038 which automictically revokes beneficiary designations upon divorce. They also proposed HB 2039 which gives full faith and credit to Native American judgments.

The Kansas Judicial Council has also released its December reports on four studies. Those studies include:

Bill introductions are moving at a decent pace for week 1. You can see which bills have been introduced by visiting www.kslegislature.org or by viewing the KBA Bill Tracking Chart at www.ksbar.org

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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Kelly Takes Over as Kansas Governor

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Yesterday, a little after 11am, surrounded by supporters, Laura Kelly was sworn in as the 48th governor for the great state of Kansas. Kelly was sworn in by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss beneath three banners reading Equality, Education & Opportunity. Her first speech as Governor hit on those three points. See: Laura-kelly-inaugural-we-must-forge-new-chapter-in-our-story (cjonline.com); See also: Make Kansas boring again: Gov. Laura Kelly’s inaugural address was delightfully dull (kansascity.com)

The remainder of the morning activates went very much as anticipated. Freshman legislators were sworn in at 2pm, again by Chief Justice Nuss, and they were done a little after 3:30. This gave plenty of time for pictures, a few handshakes and then getting prepared for the Inaugural ball. There was a sighting of Rep. Sharice Davids in the Capitol holding court with a group of Kansas Young Democrats. As session opening days go this was a combination of historic and routine.

The Inaugural Ball was what one would expect. It was very well attended with over 2000 party goers. The room was filled with both state and federal elected officers, lobbyist, supporters and contributors. Party leaders made toasts welcoming the new governor, cracked a couple of jokes and visited with colleges they haven’t seen since the session closed in 2018. A good time was had by all attending. But now the work begins, the spotlight shifts from celebration to accomplishments. No one expects a long honeymoon for Gov. Kelly since we must deal with several big issues. See: Kansas-legislature-poised-for-heated-budget-debate-cold-reality-of-partisanship (cjonline.com)

The House has already filed 31 bills. Those bills can be found at the Kansas Legislative website: http://kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/bills/. There is a bill exempting Kansas from Daylight Savings time (HB 2008); a bill restricting state officials from lobbying (HB 2010); a bill removing the Kansas Secretary of State from lawyer registration (HB 2020) and a bill dealing with term limits for Insurance Commissioner and Secretary of State (HB 2021). There are also 7 bills aimed at worker comp issues. This is a lot for Day 1.

The Senate was much more subdued in their opening filings. The Senate filed less than half the bills the House opened with. Those 15 Senate bills run the gamut of issues. There are bills on tax, bills on healthcare, bills on elections and even a bill on firearm background checks (SB 8).

When any of these bills receive hearings is up to committee chairs. A number of those committees will meet for the first time today. The goal is to make introductions, get staff settled and pass committee rules. Only then can we official introduce bills into those committees. It’s a bit of a process but we will be headed down the track full speed before we know it.

If you need any information please visit www.kslegislature.org or www.ksbar.org/legislative for KBA specific info.

Tags:  2019 session  2019-20  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  inauguration 

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Welcome Back! Let's have a Ball!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Next Monday, January 14th, the Kansas Legislature opens its doors for the 2019 Legislative Session. We will welcome more than 30 new faces to the Capitol. The most significant change is that of Governor-Elect Laura Kelly. She and her Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers will be sworn in on Monday.

We will also see new faces on the judiciary committees of both chambers. The Senate’s new Vice-Chair is Eric Rucker (R-Topeka) and a new Minority Chair is Vic Miller (D-Topeka). Both replace Kansas Senators who ascended to higher office. On the House side, Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka) takes over as chair for Rep. Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa) as Finch takes on the Speaker Pro Tem position. Vice Chair Brad Ralph (R-Dodge City) and Minority Chair John Carmichael round out the committee’s leadership spots.

As these new legislators get comfortable with their positions, they will have to deal with some rather old issues. Several legislators will want to discuss a new school finance formula. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article222907550.html. This would seem unusual since the legislature only needs to pass a funding bill dealing with inflation to close the matter. Time will tell if this is just a distraction or if leaders truly want to reopen that issue for discussion.

Gov.-Elect Kelly will also need to deal with DCF and KDADS staffing, oversight and funding issues. Kelly started down this path when she appointed Laura Howard as interim secretary for both agencies. Howard will replace Gina Meier-Hummel. See; http://www2.ljworld.com/news/state-government/2019/jan/03/kelly-appoints-ku-director-as-interim-leader-for-2-social-services-agencies/

While the new administration continues to transition into its leadership roles, they will take a break to celebrate. Gov.-Elect Kelly will host an inaugural ball on Monday, January 14th at the Kansas Expo Center. For more information, please visit - https://www.kellyrogersinauguration.com/.

Finally, the KBA will be gearing up to work on several technical proposals in 2019. The KBA will seek legislative approval to update the Kansas Revised Limited Liability Company Act; this proposal has been in the works for nearly a year. The KBA will also support extending the surcharge docket fee to help the courts become more efficient. The extension will allow the court to begin implementing E-Courts statewide. The KBA will deal with a variety of family law issues as well as attorney registration issues.

For information on legislators, bills and committee assignments please visit www.ksbar.org starting on Jan. 14th. You can also find information at www.kslegisalture.org. To receive live updates during the session, you can follow us on twitter @KansasBarLeg

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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