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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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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 -

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 -

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: 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 or by viewing the KBA Bill Tracking Chart at

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 (; See also: Make Kansas boring again: Gov. Laura Kelly’s inaugural address was delightfully dull (

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 (

The House has already filed 31 bills. Those bills can be found at the Kansas Legislative website: 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 or 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; 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;

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 -

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 starting on Jan. 14th. You can also find information at To receive live updates during the session, you can follow us on twitter @KansasBarLeg

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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Kansas Senate 2019

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, December 17, 2018

The 2018 election season was anticipated to be a quiet one for the Kansas Senate. Only Sen. Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena) faced a general election since he was appointed to finish out the term formerly held by now Kansas State Treasure Jake LaTurner (R-Pittsburg). The remaining 39 Senators had two more years before facing reelection.

However, the quiet season got a lot more complicated when three Kansas Senators won general election races for statewide office. Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) will take over the Governor’s office with her running mate Sen. Lynn Rogers (D-Wichita) when the new session starts.  Sen. Vicki Schmidt will take the helm at the Kansas Insurance Commissioner’s Office next January as well. The Senate also replaced Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) who announced his retirement after unsuccessfully campaigning for the 2nd District Congressional Seat.

All four of these Senators have now been officially replaced. Gov.-Elect Laura Kelly’s seat will be occupied by Rep. Vic Miller (D-Topeka).  See;

LT. Gov.-Elect Rogers was succeeded by Mary Ware. See;

Sen. Vicki Schmidt will be replaced by Eric Rucker who currently works in the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.  See;

These nominations will go to Gov. Colyer for the official appointment.

Earlier this fall Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) was replaced by Kevin Braun (R- Kansas City). See;

The changes above will also affect leadership positions in the Kansas Senate as Laura Kelly was the Senate Assistant Minority Leader and Vick Schmidt was the Senate Assistant Majority Leader. Both positions will need to be filled.

Finally, of particular note, Sen. Barbara Bollier has officially changed her party designation from republican to democrat. This brings the Senate composition to 31-9 Republican advantage. See;

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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New Legislative Leaders in 2019

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Voters in November elected 125 members to the Kansas House; now those 125 legislators have elected their leadership for the 2019 session. Republicans hold an 85-40 majority and control the House. The Republicans elected the following:

          Speaker of the House - Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr. (R-Olathe);

          Majority Leader – Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) defeated Rep. Don Hineman (R- Dighton); and;

          Speaker Pro Tem – Rep. Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa), replaces Scott Schwab who ascends to KS Secretary of State.

The 40 Democrats elected new caucus leaders. They altered course from 2018 by electing:

          Minority Leader - Rep. Tom Sawyer (D-Wichita), who defeated former minority leader Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita);

          Assistant Minority Leader – Rep. Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City), who defeated
                                                       Rep. Stan Frownfelter (D-Kansas City) who had sought another 2-year term.

The Kansas Senate only had one election this past November in which Sen. Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena) won the right to complete the final two years of his appointed senate term. However, due to the retirement of Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth), and the ascension of Gov-Elect Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), Lt. Gov-Elect Lynn Rogers (D-Wichita), and Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) to the office of Kansas Insurance Commissioner, the Kansas Senate will seat four new members. Those members will be led by the following:

           Senate President – Susan Wagle (R-Wichita)

           Majority Leader – Jim Denning (R-Overland Park)

           Assistant Majority Leader – Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia)

           Senate Minority Leader – Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka)

With leaders now in place and the Vicki Schmidt’s vacant seat Senate seat being decided this Friday, December 14th, both chambers will begin assigning committee chairs and members. Expect some big changes in both chambers as the Republican majority designs a strategy to deal with a Democrat as governor. The 2019 Kansas Legislative Session convenes in 35 days!

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III 

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11th Annual KBA Fall Legislative Conference was a Great Success

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, November 20, 2018

On Monday, Nov. 19th, the KBA held its 11th Annual Fall Legislative Conference. Our Special Guest Speaker this year was Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. CJ Nuss discussed the incredible work the Kansas Judicial Branch has undertaken this past year, including its work toward a more efficient court system and implementation of the E-Courts project. He also discussed the need for pay increases for judicial branch staff and judges. Nuss reported that even after the two percent pay increase for judges last year, Kansas now ranks dead last in the nation for district court judge pay. Judicial branch staff pay also remain below market. Nuss asked for assistance in discussing these issues with the legislature. Nuss invited legislators to tour courthouses and meet with judges so they could better explain the nature of the court system’s functions. Pay increases for judicial staff and judges continues to be a significant issue for the judicial branch. CJ Nuss hopes this can be addressed this coming legislative session.

The Fall Conference was also excited that Prof. Burdett Loomis from KU and Brad Cooper from the Sunflower State Journal were able to join us to discuss the general elections results. The panel discussion focused on Governor-Elect Laura Kelly’s possible priorities in 2019. The panel believed that Kelly will take a measured approach on the big issues, including school finance, expanding Medicaid and reforming DCF. Kelly will also deal with tax policy issues ranging from cutting food sale tax to returning the federal tax windfall to Kansas taxpayers, the latter of which almost passed in 2018 session. The panel understands there is much work to be done, but believe Kelly—who has established a reputation for being a thoughtful and well-prepared legislator—will likely look to study the issues first rather than making rash decisions, so her agenda may take longer to implement.

The KBA was also fortunate to have Danielle Hall, deputy disciplinary administrator, provide an Ethics CLE to our conference attendees. Her program on technology competence is a must-see.

The KBA was very pleased to have several lawyer/legislators attend along with one Kansas Senator: Rep. Dennis “Boog” Highberger (D-Lawrence); Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita); Rep. Vic Miller (D-Topeka); Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka) and Sen. Dinah Sykes (R-Lenexa). We appreciate these lawmakers’ time and interest in our KBA events.

Finally, we need to thank our sponsors. This group has generously supported the KBA Fall Conference since its inception. We could not provide these programs without them. We thank you.

Our sponsors include:

 Alderson, Alderson, Conklin, Burghart, Crow & Slinkard, LLC

John C.  Peterson, Bill Brady & Sean Miller/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

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Fall Legislative Conference  report 

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Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

With nearly all the votes counted—some being recounted—the 2018 Kansas election season comes to an end. The big story was the victory by Kansas State Senator Laura Kelly over Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The unofficial tally has Kelly defeating Kobach 48%-43%. Independent candidate Greg Orman fell way behind with only 7 percent. This is the first time since 2009 that a Democrat has held the Kansas governor’s office, but it does stick to the tradition of power changing hands from Republican to Democrat. Another interesting point is that the last three democrats to win statewide elected office were women. Kelly won the urban centers convincingly, outpacing Kobach by 43,000 votes in Johnson County, 16,000 votes in Shawnee and 8,000 in Sedgwick.

The same can not be said for the other statewide Democratic candidates, who all lost bids for higher office.

Attorney General’s Office will be retained by incumbent Derek Schmidt. This will be AG Schmidt’s third term; Schmidt won easily over Lawrence lawyer Sarah Swain 59% - 41%.

Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt defeated Nathaniel McLaughlin 63% - 37%. Vicki Schmidt received the most votes among all Republican candidates. Her state senate seat will need to be filled via precinct committee person vote in the near future.

Secretary of State was won by Scott Schwab. Schwab is a former state representative and previous speaker pro tem. Schwab won by a 53% - 44% margin.

State Treasurer will be retained by incumbent Jake LaTurner who defeated Sen. Marci Francisco 58% - 42%. LaTurner was previously appointed to fill the seat left when U.S. Rep. Ron Estes was elected.

The Kansas House of Representatives will look similar in numbers; the GOP increased its advantage by one: 86-39. The philosophical bent of that 86 is where the differences lie, and they are significant.  Republican conservatives grew their numbers this election cycle by winning several seats held by moderates in the primary, and then by beating some rural Democrats in the general. Democrats did their fair share of beating moderates, but in urban areas—namely Johnson County—where Laura Kelly helped democratic candidates in favorable districts.

The 2019 House of Representatives will see 28 new faces and 15 legislators with legal experience or education. The new lawyer/legislators include Rep.-elect Mark Samsel, R-5th District; and Rep. -elect Kellie Warren, R-28th District.

Members of the Kansas Senate were not on the ballot this season but there was one election race featuring Sen. Richard Hilderbrand who was appointed to the seat. Hilderbrand won the race by 14 points. Due to the general election results, the Senate will also need to fill Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s seat, along with Lynn Rodgers’ and Vicki Schmidt’s seats.

The 2019 session will be interesting knowing there is a Democratic on the 2nd floor. There will be a push to expand Medicaid, finish up the school finance issue and reduce waiting periods for services. These issues still require legislative approval which may be more difficult to achieve given the new composition of the Kansas House. What the governor has stated she will do and what she can do may be two different things. 

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Weekly20181113 

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Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, October 29, 2018

In eight days, Kansans will head to the polls to elect a new governor, four U.S. Representatives, four statewide officials, one state senator and 125 Kansas representatives. The most watched statewide race continues to be the Kansas Governor’s race featuring five tickets. The GOP ticket of Kris Kobach/Wink Hartman vs. Democrats Laura Kelly/Lynn Rodgers vs. Independents Greg Orman/ John Doll. Also, in the mix are Richard and Nathaniel Kloos (I-Topeka) and Jeff Caldwell/Mary Gerlt (L-Leawood).

Fort Hays State University has done a poll on this race in its Kansas Speaks Fall 2018 Statewide Public Opinion Survey. This poll was undertaken for the Citizens of Kansas by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State university. The poll can be viewed here:

However, these are not the only votes you will cast on Nov. 6th.

Seven Courts of Appeals judges and numerous District Court judges are up for retention votes while judges in 14 judicial districts face off in partisan judicial elections. Last week Greg Musil, attorney with Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes, P.C. spoke to KCUR 89.3 about judicial retention elections in Kansas and Missouri. This radio broadcast shed some light on how retention elections works. You can listen to the interview here -

In addition, several Kansas judges will face off in partisan judicial elections. Those districts include:

· 13th District

· 14th District

· 15th District

· 16th District

· 17th District

· 18th District

· 19th District

· 20th District

· 22nd District

· 23rd District

· 24th District

· 26th District

· 27th District

· 29th District[2]

Some districts provide information on the judges. For instance, in 18th Judicial District (Sedgwick County) the Wichita Eagle and the Wichita Bar Association do an online survey every two years. They provide the results via website. This year’s survey can be found at

In retention elections, district judges do not compete against an opponent; rather, voters have the option to vote “yes” to retain or “no” to remove from the bench. To keep the seat, the judge must receive a majority of “yes” votes. If the judge receives a majority of “no” votes the position becomes vacant.

The 10th Judicial District also provides voter information on judges sitting for retention in that district. The Johnson County Bar Association puts together these judicial evaluations by surveying more than 2,000 Johnson County lawyers. The results can be found at:

In the past, evaluations were offered for Kansas Appellate Court judges, but in 2012, those funds were diverted away from the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance. Since that time, other non-profit associations have tried to take up the evaluation process with some success, but this year, I am unaware of any evaluations for the seven courts of appeals judges up for retention.

The Kansas courts do provide some information on appellate judges. They provide some biographical information, date appointed, hometown and a link to cases in which that judge was involved.

The Kansas Courts of Appeals judges up for retention include:

Hon. Stephen D. Hill;
Hon. Kim R. Schroeder;
Hon. Henry W. Green Jr.;
Hon. Anthony J. Powell;
Hon. Tom Malone;
Hon. Michael B. Buser;
Hon. Melissa Taylor Standridge

For more information about voting please visit the Kansas Secretary of State website – You can find your polling place by entering your information here -

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Court of Appeals  election  House of Representatives  judges  midterms  voting 

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11th Annual Kansas Bar Association Fall Legislative Conference

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, October 1, 2018

11th Annual Kansas Bar Association
Fall Legislative Conference

Monday, November 19, 2018
Robert L. Gernon Law Center
1200 SW Harrison Street • Topeka, Kansas  66612

All Kansas Lawyer/Legislators Invited!

Schedule of Events
2:00p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
1 free hour of CLE

3:00 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.
Legislative Conference
Experts discuss pressing issues facing the 2019 Legislature

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

Special thanks and appreciation to our Reception Hosts:

Alderson, Alderson, Weiler, Conklin, Burghart & Crow, 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
RSVP by November 16th for each event you wish to attend.
Contact: Joseph N. Molina, KBA Director of Government Affairs


RSVP: (785) 234-5696 or

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  conference  Fall Legislative Conference  legislature 

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Down Ballot

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On Tuesday, November 6, Kansans will head to the polls to elect a new governor, four U.S. Representatives, four statewide officials, one state senator and 125 Kansas representatives. These races— especially for governor—will dominate our televisions, radios and mailboxes for the next six weeks. Most of the campaign money will be spent on the nine statewide races, and your individual districts will see thousands of dollars used on local races. What probably won’t get much attention this year is those other candidates down ballot: candidates for court of appeals judges and district court judges—even some individuals running for magistrate judge spots.

Kansas uses three methods to select its judges. The Kansas Supreme Court and over half of all district court judges are picked using the merit selection process. The court of appeals judges are selected using a modified appoint/confirm process, leaving the remainder to be selected via partisan elections in their local jurisdictions. While the selection process differs significantly (Kansas is the only state that uses all three processes) they have one thing in common: to keep your seat, you must appear on the general election ballot. In partisan election districts, a judge may have to face off against an opponent. In districts using the merit selection process, a judge must sit for retention. Either way, to stay on the bench, judges must face the citizens of Kansas and get their votes. See:

Elections of judges in Kansas are very similar to elections for any other office. There is a primary in which the individual with the most votes advances to the general election to face off against the winner from the other party. The winner of the general election takes the bench with a four-year term, after which the process repeats itself.

This year the following districts will hold partisan judicial elections:

· 13th District

· 14th District

· 15th District

· 16th District

· 17th District

· 18th District

· 19th District

· 20th District

· 22nd District

· 23rd District

· 24th District

· 26th District

· 27th District

· 29th District[2]


Some districts provide information on the judges. For instance, in the 18th Judicial District (Sedgwick County), the Wichita Eagle and the Wichita Bar Association do an online survey every two years. They provide the results via website. This year’s survey can be found at:

In retention elections, district judges do not compete against an opponent; rather, voters have the option to vote “yes” to retain or “no” to remove from the bench. To keep the seat ,the judge must receive a majority of “yes” votes. If the judge receives a majority of “no” votes, the position becomes vacant.

The 10th Judicial District also provides voter information on judges sitting for retention in that district. The Johnson County Bar Association puts together judicial evaluations by surveying over 2,000 Johnson County lawyers. The results can be found at:

Kansas Court of Appeals judges must sit for retention every four years (six years for Kansas Supreme Court Justices).  The process is staggered so only seven court of appeals judges face retention each election. As in district judge retention elections, voters have the option to vote “yes” to retain or “no” to remove from the bench. The only difference is, the entire state gets to decide on court of appeals judges.

You can view who is running for Kansas Court of Appeals judge, district court judge or District magistrate judge here:

These races are essential to our system of justice, so please take a few more minutes to fill out these down ballot races. 

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  election  midterms 

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