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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  Senate  Sine Die  State of the Judiciary  2019 Golf Tournament  Caleb Stegall  conference  election day  First Adjournment  HCR 5005  House of Representatives 

Guns and Budgets

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The legislature has picked up a bit of steam this last week as they begin to hear more controversial bills. Thus far, the most controversial bill to be heard was SB 53 which permanently extended the exemption for concealed carry on university campuses. The hearing was contentious, and the chair admonished the audience several times. This hearing comes after a student at KSU accidentally shot himself on school grounds. See, K-State Student Accidentally Shot Wounded Dorm Criminal Charges Possible (cjonline.com) . Bringing additional coverage to the hearing was Rep. Willie Dove (R-Bonner Springs) See, Kansas Rep. Dove Leaves Loaded Handgun in Committee Meeting Room (cjonline.com)

To say the meeting was well attended doesn’t really do it justice.

Last Wednesday, the Judicial Branch budget was heard before the House General Government Budget Committee. The judicial budget includes pay increases totaling $20.8 million in FY18 and $20.9 million in FY19. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss led the charge by explaining the need for pay increases. CJ Nuss pointed out that all the efficiencies gained through e-filing and other cost saving measures were eroded away by new employee training costs and. In the past, the Judicial Branch kept open 80-110 full time positions but due to greater efficiency within the court system those open full time positions have been paired to 20. Unfortunately, those cost savings could not be fully realized due to extremely high employee turnover. For instance, in the Tenth Judicial District, 37 employees left for better paying jobs last year. The KBA was one of more than a dozen organizations to support the budget as submitted. The Senate Ways & Means Subcommittee on the Judiciary held a hearing on the judicial budget on yesterday. You can review the testimony here: JBB_GGB_20170125.pdf

The Judicial Branch bill, HB 2041 , to extend the surcharge fund also had a hearing on yesterday. This bill extends the surcharge for another two-year period. The surcharge is responsible for around 6% of the judicial budget. The KBA supports this bill.

The KBA has been monitoring several bills in House Judiciary include SB 10 prohibiting the filing of liens on certain public officials. This rather benign bill has a new section that reads - New Sec. 2 (a) It shall be unlawful for a person to present to a recorder of record for filing in any public record any lien or claim against the real or personal property of a public official, when such person knows or reasonable should know that such lien or claim is false, or contains any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations.

This language criminalizes filing of certain liens. Members from the Kansas Land Title Association, many of whom are also members of the KBA Title Standards Committee, expressed concerns. The KBA is working with the KTLA and the KS Attorney General’s Office on new language

Four KBA proposals will have hearings next week. They include:

HB 2125

Benefit corporations

HB 2126

ADR & Meditation in Trust instruments

HB 2127

Transfer on Death Deed

HB 2186

Enacting the uniform arbitration act of 2000

 

The KBA will be represented by experts in these specific fields who have been intimately involved in the drafting of these proposals.

Finally, please find an updated bill tracking chart.

Tags:  2017 session  2017-18  budget  guns 

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Welcome Back!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Welcome Back!

On Monday, January 9, the Kansas Legislature opened its doors. The election season allows us to welcome 60 new faces to the Capitol; these new legislators will have an immediate impact on policy going forward. Conservatives continue to control the house but by a slim margin. There is an opportunity for Democrats and moderates to work together to lift some very heavy policy pieces. Look for early action to repeal the LLC loophole and discussion to expand Medicaid.

We will also see significant change in both judiciary committees this session. Sen. Rick Wilborn will chair the Senate Judiciary Committee and Rep. Blaine Finch has been tasked with the house committee. The house committee is stacked with 11 lawyer/legislators whereas the senate committee has on its roster Sen. David Haley, who is law-trained but non-practicing. The lack of lawyers in the Senate will create an interesting dynamic when both chambers debate technical legal issues and when they meet for conference committee.

These legislators face an uphill battle from day one. The state finds itself in a $340 million hole for this fiscal year which ends June 30. This budget hole only grows when discussing FY18. There was some good news in December as revenues surpassed estimates for the first time since July. The $6 million overage is helpful but a more robust figure is needed to make a dent in the shortage.

Legislators will also focus on crafting a new school finance formula. Schools are currently operating under a block grant formula which many want to change. How this is changed is yet to be seen, but some pundits believe the block grant approach could be used again. Several school districts, public policy outfits and interested parties have submitted their thoughts to the governor but as of the start of the session, no one has a good idea how to handle the situation.

Besides focusing on the state budget and school finance, the legislature will consider a significant increase to judicial branch personnel salaries. The Office of Judicial Administration put forth a proposal seeking $20 million in state general funds for pay raises for judges and staff. Currently, Kansas ranks 50 in judicial pay and 45 when accounting for inflation. It has been reported that judicial branch employees often hold two or three jobs to make ends meet. See: http://kscourts.org/Kansas-Courts/General-Information/News-Releases.asp#111816 .

KBA Proposals

The KBA will introduce four proposals: two dealing with probate issues, one making changes to the uniform law concerning arbitration, and a new business association type called Benefit Corporations. Look for these bills and others that affect the practice of law in the KBA 2017 Bill Tracking Chart. The bill tracking chart will be released on Friday, Jan. 13, with bi-weekly updates thereafter.

For information on legislators, bills and committee assignments please look at www.ksbar.org starting on Jan. 16. You can also find information at www.kslegisalture.org . To get live updates during the session you can follow us on twitter @KansaBarLeg .

Tags:  2017 session  2017-18 

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KBA 2017 Legislative Priorities

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Last Friday the Kansas Bar Association met to discuss the 2017 legislative session. The KBA Board of Governors approved the following legislative priorities for 2017:

Full Funding of Judicial Branch

  • The KBA believes that only a fully funded court system guarantees access to justice for all Kansas citizens and businesses. Access to Justice is a cornerstone of our society. Safety, fairness and efficiency can only be achieved for all Kansans if the Judicial Branch is adequately funded by the legislature. 
  • Proper funding of the Judicial Branch guarantees each citizen his or her right to due process of law as expressly stated in the Fifth and 14th amendments, facilitates economic development, and protects state interests. These guarantees require open courts, access to an attorney, prompt scheduling of hearings and trials, and accurate and timely case processing.
  • The KBA supports efforts by the Judicial Branch to modernize its processes and develop efficiencies within its operations. Specifically, the addition of 20 new employees, seven new magistrate judges, and one additional district judge will ease the burden on overworked staff and better serve Kansas citizens.
  • The core function of the Kansas Judicial Branch is the timely delivery of justice to Kansas residents and businesses. A properly compensated staff is vital to this mission. As such, the KBA supports the Judicial Branch’s request to bring employee salaries to market level and to adjust judicial salaries to compete with neighboring states.

Working for Kansas Businesses

  • The KBA will introduce a bill creating a new business type called Benefit Corporations. A Benefit Corporation is a type of for-profit corporate entity, authorized by 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia; its mission is to create a positive impact on society, workers, the community, and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals. This proposal is an extension of the 2016 update of the Kansas General Corporate Code which was passed and signed into law in 2016.

Arbitration Law Updates

  • The KBA will introduce a proposal codifying enforcement of mediation/arbitration provision in trust instruments. This proposal is in line with prior revisions to the Uniform Trust Act.
  • The KBA will also introduce a law aimed at updating the Uniform Arbitration Act of 1955. These revisions, named the Revised Arbitration Act of 2000, will address many procedural issues not discussed in the original act. It will allow a court to order provisional remedies, further protect due process rights of participants, avoid federal preemption issues, and allow expressed immunity for arbitrators. 

The KBA will also actively review legislation throughout the 2017 session. The KBA will again provide a “Bill Tracking Chart” so members can easily review issues being discussed at the Capitol. The KBA will periodically request the assistance of KBA Sections and/or KBA Committees to vet new legislation and make recommendations based on those Sections/Committees’ expertise.

Tags:  2017 session  2017-18 

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