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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 

Special Session 2016

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, June 27, 2016
Updated: Monday, June 27, 2016

About the Author

Joseph N. Molina III
Legislative Services Director


The Kansas Legislature reconvened last week to begin discussing a resolution to the school finance issue. Both chambers were in session and several committees held hearings. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed out a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the Kansas Supreme Court from closing schools, See
. This is the same proposal discussed during the Joint Meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee. The KBA submitted testimony opposing this proposal at the Joint Meeting. See

The Senate debated this resolution but was unable to garner the requisite votes need to pass it.  The measure failed 26-13. This basically ended the discussion of limiting the court’s power in the Senate. See

The House Judiciary Committee introduced a constitutional amendment that would limit school funding to no more than 45 percent of the state budget and remove the word “suitable” from the Article 6 Section 6 of the Kansas Constitution. See This proposal was introduced by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) who is not seeking reelection.

Rep. Craig McPherson (R-overland Park) introduced HB 2002 that would create the superior court of Kansas and limit the power of the Kansas Supreme Court. The superior court would hear all cases assigned by law and be the court of final appellate review in cases under its court’s jurisdiction. See

Rep. Barker did not set a committee meeting to hear either of these proposals. So both died without debate.

Both chambers debated the school finance bill. The House discussed HB 2003 and the Senate debated SB 3. Both bills are designed to shift current appropriations around to fund the equity portion of the school finance case. The total money being discussed is $38 million. Some money comes from tobacco funds ($4.1 million), some from the extraordinary needs fund ($7.2 million), virtual schools ($2.8 million) and a cut for base state aid ($13 million). The cut to base state aid will take operation money and shift that to property tax relief. See

After some thoughtful reflection and some prodding from Johnson County lawmakers the idea to cut school funding by $13 million dollars was dumped and replaced with monies from the sale of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. Should this sale not produce the needed revenue the equity portion of the school finance issue would be buoyed by the extraordinary needs fund.  All parties, including the plaintiffs in the case, agreed that this solves the equity issue. See see also and

With the passage of the school finance bill the 2016 Special Session came to an end. A constitutional crisis was averted and the courts withstood early challenges to its powers. The focus now shifts to August primaries and then the general elections. Look for anti-court/non-retain ads and information to begin appearing all over the state. It should be an interesting summer.

Tags:  2016 Session  Special Session 

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Judicial Budget, Death Penalty and More

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The second week of the legislative session saw as much activity as the first, even though it was a day shorter. A host of new bills were introduced by the Kansas House, mostly by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. These bills range from concealed carry to session days to immigration law, all of which look to be election year fodder. However, the Kansas House did take significant steps when they passed HB 2449, repealing the non-severability clause from the 2015 judicial branch budget. The vote was taken last week and HB 2449 was approved 119-0. HB 2449 now heads to the Kansas Senate where they have an identical bill (SB 320). How they proceed and what type of debate takes shape remains to be seen, but the hope is for a quick and unencumbered resolution. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear an update on the Solomon case on Thursday, January 28, but as of today no hearing is set for HB 2449.

There were also a few rulings released this week that will have an impact on the legislature. The big news was the ruling by the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Kansas Supreme Court on the death penalty case. That case, Kansas v. Carr, created quite a bit of discussion under the dome. Many legislators praised the ruling as long overdue justice, and criticized the Kansas court for being anti-public safety. Several legislators thought this was further evidence of the need to change the merit selection system. On a related note—HCR 5013 which would alter the Supreme Court nominating commission –has not been rescheduled. Read the Wichita Eagle report.

The other cases included the Kansas Supreme Court voiding a Wichita ordinance lessening the penalties for marijuana, and the Kansas Court of Appeals keeping an abortion law on hold.

Next week, the KBA will be monitoring several bills including SB 96 dealing with disclosure of unanticipated medical outcomes, and HB 2466, prohibiting sanctuary resolutions by Kansas municipalities. The immigration issue is a hot topic, and the House Fed/State committee will hear at least two other immigration bills this session.

The KBA will also be monitoring the following bills:

Bill Description

HB 2472

Clarifying jurisdiction of Board of Tax Appeals

HB 2487

Legislative subsistence allowance; repealing provisions increasing the allowance to match the federal employee per diem expenses and setting the allowance at $129 per day.

HB 2501

Clarifying the definition of crime committed with an electronic device.

HB 2502

Amending court procedures in motion to attack sentence regarding time limitations and findings of manifest injustice.

HB 2504

School District Realignment

HB 2506

False statements against candidates for state office

HB 2513

Limiting the days of session

SB 331

Kansas firearms industry nondiscrimination act

SB 334

Requiring notice to the AG before any Kansas Court determines a law is invalid or unconstitutional

The KBA will be introducing two proposals this week. The first is the transfer on death deed amendments, and the other the Kansas General Corporate Code update. Both bills will be introduced into House Judiciary Committee.

For more information please see or follow the KBA on Twitter @KansasBarLeg.

Tags:  2016 Session  Kansas v. Carr  marijuana 

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2016 Legislature Session Opens

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Legislators returned on Monday to a budget shortfall, poor revenue numbers, a foster care controversy and four new House members. Rep. Ben Scott (D-Topeka); Rep. Henry Helgerson (D-Eastbourogh); Rep. Ken Rahjes (R-Agra); and Rep. Chuck Weber (R-Wichita) all took their seats after being appointed during the off season. Some housekeeping was in order as Republicans needed to replace Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady as caucus chair. Rep. Dan Hawkins (Wichita) defeated Rep. J.R. Claeys (Salina) to gain the post.

The formalities out of the way, legislators can now focus on the State of the State address Tuesday at 5:30 pm. The SOS was moved up to avoid a conflict with the State of the Union address set for later this evening. Here legislators will learn of the path the governor is proposing to close the budget shortfall. Many are anticipating the governor staying the course by keeping the LLC income tax loophole open this session. Rep. Mark Hutton (R-Wichita) might have other ideas since he introduced HB 2444 that would close the non-wage income tax exemption and lower the sales tax on food. No hearing is set for this bill but it does send a message that all options are on the table. Legislators will also get a report from the government efficiency audit this week which should allow them to make cuts to help lessen the budget problem.

On the judiciary front, a hearing is set for HCR 5013 which would change the way we select justices in Kansas by expanding the nominating commission to 15, four elected by lawyers in Kansas, five appointed by the governor and six appointed by the legislator. Of the six legislative appointees, two will be made by the speaker, two by the Senate president and two by the minority party of each chamber. This is the third proposal to change how we pick justices in Kansas to be heard. The other two are HCR 5004 and HCR 5005: one would allow selection using a governor appoint model while the other would simple be direct partisan election.

Quick Take:

As far as committee meetings are concerned the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m., in room 346-S. Sen. Jeff King (R-Independence) continues as Senate Judiciary chair with Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park) as vice-chair. The House Judiciary Committee will meet in the 112-N at 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Leadership for this committee remains the same with a chairman, Rep. John Barker (R-Abilene), a vice-chair Rep. Charles Macheers (R-Shawnee) and Rep. John Carmichael will sit as ranking minority leader. We do welcome Rep. Blake Carpenter (R-Derby) to the committee as he replaces former Rep. Couture-Lovelady. For other committee meeting times and locations, please access

Another interesting bill is the LGBT protection bill, HB 2323. This bill, introduced by Rep. John Carmichael (D-Wichita) will be heard on Thursday this week. Controversy arose last session when Gov. Brownback eliminated protections from gender discrimination/sexual orientation in state employment. These protections were first put in place by Gov. Sebelius.

Finally, on Monday a committee met to discuss issues with foster care placement. Concerns were made about moving foster children out of their communities, foster parents profiting financially from these placements, and the ability of same sex couple to continue as foster parents. No recommendations were made, but this appears to be an issue worth monitoring.

The KBA will be live tweeting the State of the State address. To follow along please see KSBarLeg on Twitter. You can also find legislative information on the KBA website at


Tags:  2016 Session 

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