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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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12th Annual Kansas Bar Association Fall Legislative Conference

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, October 28, 2019
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 12th Annual Kansas Bar Association Fall Legislative Conference

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Robert L. Gernon Law Center • 1200 SW Harrison Street • Topeka, Kansas 66612


Schedule of Events

2:00p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
Kate L. Baird
Deputy Disciplinary Administrator

3:00 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.
Legislative Conference
Cory Sheedy
Kansas Governor’s Office

Panel Discussion
Clark Shultz – Kansas Healthcare Stabilization Fund
David Morantz – Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman
Thomas Warner – Warner Law Office, PA

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Cocktail Reception


 Special thanks and appreciation to our Reception Hosts:

Alderson, Alderson, Conklin, Crow & Slinkard, LLC

John Peterson & Bill Brady/Capitol Strategies  Kansas Bankers Association

Sneed Law Firm, LLC  Whitney B. Damron, P.A.

R. E. "Tuck" Duncan/Kansas Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association

Foulston Siefkin LLP


Attendance is free for all events

Please RSVP by November 4th for each event you wish to attend
by contacting Joseph N. Molina, KBA Director of Government Affairs


(785) 234-5696 or

Kansas Bar Association - 1200 SW Harrison St., Topeka, KS 66612
Ph (785) 234-5696 | Fax (7i85) 234-3813 | Email

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  KBA Legislative Conference Schedule of Events 

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Three to the Governor (Supreme Court Nominee Update)

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, October 21, 2019

Last week, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission met for two days to interview 19 applicants for the Kansas Supreme Court. The KBA sat through the process and live-tweeted the interviews. The public could view the interviews and voting, but few took advantage of the opportunity. By my estimation, there were three members of the press, four associations, a few court employees with the remainder being family of the candidates. At no time were there more than 16 people attending the process, but most of the time, fewer than nine people were in the gallery.

The Commission interviewed each applicant for 30 minutes. The questions were thorough and included education, experience and family life. Social media was discussed as well.

The commissioned narrowed the initial 19 applicants to 10 on their first round of voting. The second round of voting cut the list to six, the third round pared the list further to four. Once down to three applicants, the committee held a Final Action vote to recommend those three to Gov. Laura Kelly. See;

The three candidates include:

Dennis D. Depew – Depew a past President of the Kansas Bar Association and the Kansas School Board Association; he currently works as Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Division. He has held this post since leaving his family law firm in Neodesha, Kan. He was a partner in the Depew law firm from 1983-2015. He still owns a home in SE Kansas. He is a KU Law graduate, Class of 1983.

Steven J. Obermeier – Obermeier is an Assistant Solicitor General for the KSAG’s Office. He was hired in 2017. Previously Obermeier worked at the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office for 21 years. Obermeier worked with four different Johnson County DAs. Obermeier received is law degree from Washburn law in December 1982.

Hon. Evelyn Z. Wilson – Judge Wilson was appointed to the Shawnee County District Court in 2004. She has served a Chief Judge since 2014. Previously, she was in private practice with the firm of Wright, Henson, Somers, Sebelius, Clark and Baker in Topeka. She was managing partner for several years. Judge Wilson started her career in Oberlin, Kan., at the Lund Law Firm. She was an associate for seven years before going the firm in Topeka. Judge Wilson is a Washburn Law Graduate who earned her law degree in 1985.


Governor Kelly now has 60 days to select her nominee. This person will assume the position as Kansas Supreme Court Justice. The newly minted justice is required to sit for retention election next year.

The Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission will return to Topeka in two months to consider another round of applicants to replace Chief justice Lawton Nuss. Chief Justice Nuss announced he will step down from the court on December 17th. Applicants have until Nov. 18, 2019, to submit their application to Clerk of the Appellate Courts Doug Shima. See;; See also;

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Dennis D. Depew  Hon. Evelyn Z. Wilson  judicial nominee interviews  Steven J. Obermeier  Supreme Court Nominating Commission 

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Supreme Court Interviews

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


On October 17 & 18 the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission will meet to interview candidates for an opening on the Kansas Supreme Court. This new justice will succeed Justice Lee Johnson on the Court.

Each of the 19 applicants will sit for a 30-minute interview. The list of applicants can be found here: To be eligible, an applicant must be at least 30 years of age, a lawyer admitted to practice law in Kansas, and engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years, whether as a lawyer, judge or a full-time professor at an accredited law school. Applicant biographies may be reviewed here:

The Commission is a 9-person panel with 5 lawyers and 4 non-lawyers. The commission members can be found here: The commission will be working under some new guidelines this session because the laws concerning commission meetings were amended recently. Those new laws make these interviews open meeting and subject to the KS Open Meetings Act. However, there are some differences in that the nominating commission can only enter executive session to discuss financial issues and KBI background check information. The commission has set a few guidelines of their own which can be found here:

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is an independent body. Four of its members are appointed by the governor and represent each of the state’s four congressional districts; these appointees are not attorneys. Four more members are attorneys—elected by other attorneys within each of the congressional districts. The commission chair is an attorney elected by attorneys in a statewide vote.

The Commission reviews each applicant’s:

o   Legal and judicial experience

o   Educational record

o   Character and ethics

o   Service to the community

o   Impartiality

o   Respect for colleagues

The Commission will nominate the three most qualified applicants. Governor Laura Kelly will select one of the three nominees to be the next Kansas Supreme Court Justice.

The KBA will monitor the interviews and provide an update in the next Advocate.

Good luck to all.

Tags:  2019 Kansas Supreme Court nominees  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  judicial nominating process  Supreme Court Nominating Commission 

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Special Committee on Judiciary

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

Special Committee on Judiciary

Last week 11 members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee met over two days to discuss abortion rights, caps on noneconomic damages and changes to judicial selection. While seemingly separate and distinct issues these three controversial topics have the Kansas Supreme Court as its nexus. Earlier this year the Kansas Supreme Court found a constitutional right to an abortion in Hodes & Nauser, MDs v. Schmidt. The court also invalidated the statute that caps noneconomic damages in Hilburn v. Enerpipe LTD. Some believe that different justices would have decided these two cases differently thus altering how justices are picked became an issue. See;; See also;

The KBA provided testimony in support of the current method for selecting Kansas Supreme Court Justices. Jim Robinson represented the KBA at the hearing and provided the committee with the most significant scholarship on merit selection. Look for this testimony in the KBA Journal. The KBA took no other position at the hearing. The committee recommended that the issue be studied further in the 2020 session.

To be clear, altering judicial selection in Kansas remains a significant issue. Currently, SCR 1610, which would move Kansas to a Gov. appoint/Senate confirm model, is available to the Committee of the Whole. However, with this recommendation it is possible that SCR 1610 be re-referred to the Senate judiciary Committee for hearing. This committee has 11 members with 9 republicans and 2 democrats. Should SCR 1610 be passed out of Committee it would need 27 votes to pass out of the Senate. The KBA will monitor this issue closely going forward.

The Committee also recommended that the noneconomic damages issue be further studied. There appears to be a difference of opinion on how to read the Hilburn case. Opponents of caps feel that the Kansas Supreme Court invalidated all noneconomic damages caps, including those on medical malpractice. Some believe that the caps on Med Mal still apply since Hilburn was a personal injury case arising from an auto accident. How this is interpreted could affect how state agencies react in the future, think Healthcare Stabilization Fund or maybe even Worker’s Comp. The one constant is that all sides want more time to flush the issue out and wait for a case that could shed light on the court’s reasoning.

This next case will be ruled on by a court seating 2 new justices that did not originally hear the Hilburn case. It is important to remember that the Hilburn case was a close vote and adding 2 new voices to the discussion could swing the pendulum and uphold the cap. These are all simple hypotheticals now because no such case has been appealed and we are months away from adding 2 new justices.

The Special Committee on Judiciary did pay extra attention to abortion portion of the hearing. This issue garnered the most attendees, conferees, questions and news coverage. The committee recommendation asked that the public be allowed to vote on a constitutional amendment overturning the Hodes ruling and finding no right to an abortion in the Kansas Constitution. See;; See also;

The issue is already in front of the Legislature (HCR 5004), but it is plausible that a new constitutional amendment be drafted, with hearings scheduled in the early days of the 2020 session. To reach the ballot the measure needs 27 votes in the Senate and 84 votes in the House. Should this issue go down party lines every one of the 84 Republicans in the House would need to vote in favor of the measure to pass. This past session the House sustained Gov. Kelly’s veto on SB 67 dealing with the Abortion Reversal Pill. That vote was 83-41.

For those that are interested you can read the testimony submitted in the Special Committee on Judiciary here -

Fall Legislative Conference

If you would like to hear more about caps on noneconomic damages, you are free to attend the KBA Fall Legislative Conference on Nov. 6th beginning at 2pm. Experts will cover the Hilburn case. RSVP to me at to register.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  judiciary  special committee 

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A Hectic Ten Days

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The KBA will be busy the next week and a half. We will first welcome our newest attorneys to the practice of law this Friday, September 27th.  Over 80 new lawyers will be sworn-in during two separate ceremonies at the Kansas Supreme Court. Among the new admittees is former KBA staffer Jennifer Salva. See;

The KBA will then testify on judicial selection issues during the Special Committee on Judiciary on Oct. 1-2, 2019. The Judiciary Interim Committee will also cover Hodes Nauser, MDs. P.A. vs Schmidt (abortion case) and Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd. (noneconomic damages case). See;; for a list of committee members:

On October 2nd the KBA will host its Trivia Night Fundraiser for Kansas Legal Services (KLS). The event will pit Washburn Law School against KU Law School in a battle of wits. The trivia contest will take place at the Historic Harley-Davidson. If you’re interested you can find more information here -

The KBA will also attend the Wichita Bar Association’s Judges’ Day on October 3rd. WBA Judge’s Day will include a Golf Tournament, Tennis/Pickle Ball matches, a Bike Ride, an event at the Wichita Brewery and a BBQ at the Botanical Gardens. See;

The KBA will then meet with its Board of Governors on Friday October 4th at the WBA.

Finally, the 10-day run will end with the Investiture Ceremony for Rachel L. Pickering. Judge Pickering will be officially sworn-in at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4th at the Shawnee county Courthouse.

Tags:  abortion  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Fall new admittees  Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd.  judicial selection  KBA Trivia Night  non-economic damages 

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Good Times • Dodge City

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, September 16, 2019

Last week the KS Bar Association was invited to join members of the SW Kansas Bar Association in Dodge City for their Annual Conference. It was a wonderful time. The SW Bar provided excellent programming with an eventful reception at Boot Hill Museum. Things are happening at the Boot Hill museum as they add-on to the famous landmark with other features. Construction is moving ahead quickly.

We at the KBA would like to thank the SW Bar for the invitation. We would like to personally thank Lane Frymire, Sarah Heeke, Tom Black and Robert Bauer for a great two days. Also, special thanks to Rose Marquez and Barb Archuleta from Doll Law Firm and Deidra Mason from Bauer, Pike, Bauer, Wary & Caroll, LLC for helping make the CLE run so smoothly.  Looking forward to 2020.

This week the KBA heads up to Concordia, KS for the 12th Judicial District Bench & Bar CLE. We are being hosted by Chief Judge Kim W. Cudney at the St. Joseph Nazareth Motherhouse. If you’re in the area swing on by and say hello.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Boot Hill Museum  Dodge City  SWKS Bar Association 

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20 Weeks Until the 2020 Session

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, August 27, 2019
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The 2020 Session is approaching quickly. Summer break has ended, and Kansas lawmakers are attending Interim Committees. These committees will focus on a variety of issues such as criminal justice reform, retail electrical rates, and KanCare Oversight. However, bigger issues are on the horizon.

The legislature will look at several proposals in 2020 that may end up on the election ballot.

Merit Selection will be debated in 2020 ,with its opponents hoping to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot. There is currently a proposal in the Kansas Senate, SCR 1610, that would change Article 3 from a merit selection process to a governor appoint/senate confirm model. This is the process used for the Kansas Court of Appeals—the same process used this past session by Gov. Kelly that has renewed the debate on judicial selection. While SCR 1610 is on the table, it may not end up being the proposal championed by opponents of merit selection. The Kansas Legislature will hold interim committee meetings this fall to get the ball rolling. The KBA has a long-standing policy supporting merit selection for Kansas Appellate Courts.

Also, look for a debate on abortion in 2020.  The Kansas Supreme Court ruled this past April that the Kansas Constitution protects a women’s right to an abortion. In a 6-1 ruling the court held that the constitution protects all Kansans’ natural right to personal autonomy. This ruling has re-invigorated anti-abortion groups who would like to see this outcome changed at the polls through a constitutional amendment. See;; See also;

We may also see a debate on whether the legislature may impose limits on the amount of money a person can receive for non-economic injuries. This debate is also spurred by a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in the past year. The ruling, Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd, dealt with a car accident. The Court found that the state’s non-economic damages cap of $325,000 violated the plaintiff’s right to have a jury determine compensation owed the injured. See;

Supporters of a statutory cap would also like to see the constitution changed to allow the legislature to limit the amounts recovered for non-economic injury.

These are very large issues to tackle in an election year. They are wide ranging, with a multitude of interested parties—sometimes overlapping interest groups—that will require significant study over a relatively short period of time. How many amendments make it to the ballot remains to be seen, but it it sets the stage for an interesting 90 days in 2020.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  2020 Legislative Session  abortion  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Hilburn v. Enerpipe  merit selection  noneconomic damages  noneconomic injury cap  SCR 1610 

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The Places We Will Go — KBA This Fall

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, August 12, 2019
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Each fall the KBA heads out of Topeka to visit lawyers across the state. In the past, we have visited Liberal, Washington County, Salina and Hays.

This fall is no different, as we have plans to visit the Johnson County Bar on Sept. 4th for its monthly luncheon. I will provide a short update of the 2019 legislative session and some possible issues going into 2020. The luncheon is set for 11:45 at the Double Tree Hotel in Overland Park. See;

The following week, the KBA will head down to Dodge City for its Annual Southwest Kansas Bar Association Meeting. This is a great two-day event with a wonderful reception at Boot Hill Museum on Sept 12th and a full slate of CLEs on Sept 13th. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello. See;

The KBA will also participate in the Washburn Law School Golf Classic and Ethics CLE on Sept 19th. Hosted by the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation, it will take place at TopGolf in Overland Park. For more details please visit -

Finally, the KBA will attend Judges Day in Wichita the first week in October. This annual event includes a Fun Run to the courthouse, a Bike Ride, Pool and Golf Tournament and a Tennis & Pickle Ball match. A wonderful BBQ at the Wichita Botanical Gardens wraps it all up.  For more info -

The KBA will hold its Fall Board of Governors Meeting on October 4th.  If you would like to learn more about this meeting, please visit the KBA website at

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Fall 2019 KBA Board of Governors Meeting  Johnson County Bar lunch  Judges Day in Wichita in October  Southwest Kansas Bar Association Meeting  Washburn Law School Golf Class and Ethics CLE 

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Chief Justice Lawton Nuss Announces Retirement

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, July 30, 2019

In a somewhat surprising announcement, Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss revealed his intent to retire from the Kanas Supreme Court on December 17, 2019. Chief Justice Nuss has served on the Court for 17 years, the last nine as Chief Justice.


Chief Justice Nuss stated “"I consider my service on the Supreme Court to be the greatest privilege of my 37-year legal career. It has given me the honor of working with the nearly two thousand dedicated people―judges and employees alike―of the judicial branch of government. I am extremely proud of what all these good folks have accomplished for their fellow Kansans."


Chief Justice Nuss is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law and a veteran of the United States Marine Corp. He plans to continue working on projects aimed at assisting veterans.


Justice Marla Luckert, the next most senior member of the Supreme Court, will take over as Chief upon Chief Justice Nuss’s retirement.


Chief Justice Nuss stated “"I consider my service on the Supreme Court to be the greatest privilege of my 37-year legal career. It has given me the honor of working with the nearly two thousand dedicated people―judges and employees alike―of the judicial branch of government. I am extremely proud of what all these good folks have accomplished for their fellow Kansans."


Chief Justice Nuss is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law and a veteran of the United States Marine Corp. He plans to continue working on projects aimed at assisting veterans.


Justice Marla Luckert, the next most senior member of the Supreme Court, will take over as Chief upon Chief Justice Nuss’s retirement.


The justice who is senior in continuous term of service shall be chief justice, and in case two or more have continuously served during the same period the senior in age of these shall be chief justice”. Kansas Constitution, Article 3, Section 2.


You can read Chief Justice Nuss’s letter to Governor Kelly here -

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Chief Justice Nuss  Chief Justice retirement  Kansas Constitution Article 3 Section 2  Lawton J. Nuss 

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Kansas Supreme Court accepting nominations for upcoming Court vacancy

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Today, the Kansas Supreme Court will begin accepting nominations to fill a position on the Kansas Supreme Court when Justice Lee Johnson retires on September 8, 2019.

Eligible applicants must be:

  • at least 30 years old; and
  • be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years, whether a lawyer, judge or full time teacher at an accredited law school.

If interested, find the nomination form here:

Nominations may be hand-delivered or submitted via mail to:

Douglas T. Shima
Clerk of the Appellate Courts
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Ave. Rm. 107
Topeka KS 66612-1507

Nominees will be reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission,  a nine-member commission with one lawyer and one non-lawyer from each congressional district, and one lawyer elected by lawyers statewide to be chairperson.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Justice Lee Johnson retirement  KS Supreme Court Nominating Commission  Supreme Court vacancy 

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