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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 

Veto Session?

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Kansas Legislature was scheduled to return to wrap up the 2020 session yesterday, April 27th. That plan was scuttled last week when the Legislative Coordinating Council postponed the restart due to COVID-19 concerns. See; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20200422/kansas-coronavirus-update-legislative-session-delayed-two-thirds-of-lawmakers-at-risk-of-contracting-virus

The new plan is to revisit the idea of returning before May 3rd which would be a day before Gov. Kelly could lift the statewide “stay at home” order. The complication is that local governments have the power to continue or extend “stay-at-home” orders. While the Kansas Legislature is exempt from this “stay at home” order, the optics would be less than ideal, given that a majority of legislators fall within the “At-Risk” group. See; https://kasb.org/nb0422-3/

Nevertheless, there is a strong push by a group of legislators to start the reopening process. This group, 80 plus strong and all Republican, want a plan from the governor. House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins posted the letter with signers on his Facebook page this past week. Should the “stay-at-home” order be rescinded, it would be difficult for these legislators to avoid returning to Topeka after taking such a hardline stance on reopening the economy. See; https://www.kwch.com/content/news/KS-lawmakers-call-on-governor-to-begin-work-on-plan-for-reopening-economy-569649601.html

If the Veto Session resumes—and that is still an “if” at this point—the legislature could discuss the State revenue shortfalls, Executive Order reform and possibly Medicaid Expansion. However, none of these items are on any agenda currently, and with just eight bills passed so far this session, it is unlikely we will see a flurry of bills headed to the governor during veto.

The Kansas Legislative Research Department has released its 2020 legislative summary of bills passed. This is the shortest initial summary in my 12 years with the KBA. It is only 12 items deep, with four of those items being executive order- or concurrent resolution-related. Of the eight bills signed into law, two dealt directly with COVID-19 actions. The only major bills to pass were the state budget (SB 66) and the transportation plan (House Sub for SB 173). Other bills are primed for passage, but that depends on the actions taken during veto. See; http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Publications/SummaryofLegislation/PreliminarySummaries/2020-preliminary-summary.pdf

Tags:  2020 legislative summary  2020 Veto Session  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Legislative Coordinating Council  Medicaid Expansion  Stay-at-Home 

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TURNAROUND Deuxieme Partie

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, March 2, 2020

The Kansas Legislature reached the halfway mark of the 2020 session, commonly referred to as Turnaround. This is a deadline that requires all bills to be passed out of their House of Origin or fall by the wayside. As with all rules there are expectations and the Turnaround deadline is no different. To survive this deadline a bill must be referred to an exempt committee. Exempt committees include: House Appropriations, Senate Ways & Means, Tax along with Federal & State Affairs. The chamber would have to make the procedural maneuver prior to the deadline. Once the bill is referred, it is considered “blessed,” and it moves forward in the legislative unaffected by the Turnaround deadline. Another way to get around the deadline is to introduce a bill into any exempt committee; bill introductions are not closed to these committees. At present, both the House and Senate are on a short break. They return to take up the second half of the session today, March 3rd.

The big news remains the impasse created by the failed vote on the abortion amendment. As you recall, the Kansas House voted down SCR 1613 on a vote of 80-43—four votes short of the constitutional amendment requirement. In response, Senate President Susan Wagle has rejected attempts to vote on Medicaid Expansion. Sen. Wagle has stated that Medicaid Expansion will not be voted on until the House passes the Abortion Amendment. Neither measure will die due to the Turnaround Deadline but passage of either will be a challenge.

The filibuster of Medicaid Expansion is just one of the issues on Gov. Kelly’s agenda that is being held up by the Legislature. This past week, House Appropriations voted against re-amortizing KPERS. The committee proposed making its KPERS payments for the next fiscal year without refinancing that amount first. The committee believes that refinancing KPERS could happen, just not yet.

In addition, Gov. Kelly’s attempts to reorganize state government has also been delayed. The Legislature has not approved the proposed merger of DCF and KDADS to create the Department of Human Services; members have not transferred state employee health benefits plans to KDHE; and they have yet to create the Kansas energy office. Each item is on Gov. Kelly’s agenda.

CONTIGENCY FEE BILLS

As of this writing, none of the bills dealing with contingency fees and legal representation have been blessed by the Senate. This means they are all dead for the session unless they are re-introduced into an exempt committee. Whether that occurs remains to be seen.

As a reminder these bills include:

SB 444

Public Litigation Coordination act to restrict certain contracts by public entities for legal services on a contingency fee basis

SB 445

Defining and prohibiting certain deceptive lawsuit advertising practices and restricting the use or disclosure of protected health information to solicit individuals for legal services.

SB 446

Enacting limitations on contingency fee agreements in certain civil actions

SB 447

Providing for joint liability for costs and sanctions in third-party funded litigation, requiring certain discovery disclosures and requiring payment of certain costs for nonparty subpoenas.

 

With the Senate bills facing a hard deadline, the Kansas Attorney General is using the amendment process to move his issue forward in the House. Earlier this session, the KSAG introduced HB 2461, the Public Litigation Coordination Act. That bill banned contingency fee contracts entered into by public entities. The KBA opposed the bill. The KSAG has been working with local municipalities on an alternative, in the form of SB 444. The amendment process was started when HB 2461 was referred to an exempt committee, shielding it from the Turnaround deadline. The plan is return the measure to the House Judiciary Committee and replace it with language from SB 444—a procedure commonly referred to as a “gut & go.” The committee will then hold a hearing on the new language. The issue relates to the possible lawsuit against e-cigarette companies See; https://apnews.com/bc0ebafd2c6604e2ac26c6ee219c35b4

JUDICIAL BRANCH BUDGET

Chief justice Marla Luckert and several other OJA employees testified last week about the need for an additional $18.3 million to fund raises for staff and judges and to add a few more judges to cover high filing areas. The General Government Budget Committee approved this request and sent a positive recommendation for the full amount to House Appropriations committee. Last session, the committee recommended the funds be added over three and five years. That full recommendation is a positive step. House appropriations may very well pass a plan that calls for a phasing-in of the funds, but as it currently exists, the recommendation is for the full request of $18.3 million in one lump sum.

REPORTING ITEMS

Quorum Requirements for certain CorporationsHB 2401 was introduced by Rep. Boog Highberger (D-Lawrence) to assist the Merc Co-Op in amending its corporate charter. The bill lowers the quorum requirement to 10 percent, which would require fewer voting members be present to change its by-laws. The KBA’s Corporate Law Section, led by Bill Matthews and Bill Quick, are concerned that this sets a dangerous precedent and would like to work out a non-legislative alternative. The bill has been removed from the Committee-of-the-Whole and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Patton has set the matter for hearing on Wednesday, March 4th.

Audio-Visual Use in CourtroomsHB 2447 was introduced by the Kansas Judicial Council to expand the use of audio/visual technology in courtrooms. The bill passed the Committee-of-the-Whole on an 83-39 vote. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The KBA supports the bill.

Public Litigation Coordination ActHB 2461 was introduced by the KSAG office to require public entities to get approval before entering into contingency fee contracts. The KSAG would have sole discretion in approving these requests. The bill has been referred to House Appropriations and will survive the deadline.

Uniform Power of Attorney ActHB 2500 was introduced by the Kansas Judicial Council. The bill provides a new power of attorney form and requires, in certain instances, that third party entities accept this form or a form that is substantially compliant with the judicial council form. The bill was amended to include language that allows third party entities to deny PoAs if relying on the opinion of counsel. The bill was passed by the Committee-of-the-Whole on a 122-0 vote. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The KBA will continue to monitor the bill.

Uniform Family Law Arbitration ActHB 2533 was introduced by the KBA with Prof. Lind Elrod speaking on behalf of the BAR. The bill allows arbitration to be used in certain family law setting such as divorce actions. Family Law Arbitration is voluntary. The House Judiciary Committee recommended HB 2533 favorably for passage this week. Hb 2533 did not receive a vote by the committee of the whole. Leadership was afraid that Rep. Ward would attempt to amend the bill to include teacher due process. This caused the bill to fall below the line. This bill is subject to the Turnaround deadline and—without further intervention—will be stricken from the calendar post Feb 27th.

Allowing Legislators to Remain in a Closed courtroomHB 2591 was introduced by Rep. Michael Capps (R-Wichita). The bill would allow legislators of either chamber to observe the proceedings in a closed courtroom. I have reached out to Rep. Capps but have not received a reply. Rep. Capps works on CINC cases which could be the reason for his interest. Nevertheless, this bill impinges on a judge’s authority over his courtroom.

This bill is subject to the Turnaround deadline, and without further intervention, will be stricken from the calendar post Feb 27th.

Contract for DeedHB 2600 was introduced by Rep. Jason Probst (D-Hutchinson) to resolve issues his constituents have had with the sale of real estate via contract for deeds. Rep. Probst had a similar proposal last session which he did not file. The KBA opposed this bill in committee. The committee has referred this bill to the Kansas Judicial Council for further review.

Original Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice  – HB 2673 was introduced by Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka) on behalf of Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa). The bill would give the Kansas Supreme Court original jurisdiction over medical malpractice cases with a claim of noneconomic loss. This bill survives the Turnaround deadline since it was introduced into the Appropriations Committee. It has since been referred to the Committee on Judiciary. No hearings have been set for this bill.

Withdrawal of Court of Appeal NomineeSB 403 was introduced by Sen. Eric Rucker (R-Topeka) to clarify when a nominee for the Kansas Court of Appeals may withdraw from consideration. The proposed language states:

     (2) The governor may withdraw an appointment from consideration by the senate at any time before the senate consents to such appointment by serving written notice of such withdrawal on the secretary of the senate in accordance with K.S.A. 60-303, and amendments thereto.

This bill is subject to the Turnaround deadline, and without further intervention, will be stricken from the calendar post Feb 27th.

Terminating Parent Rights SB 404 was introduced by the Kansas Judicial Council to create a cause of action to terminate parental rights when the child is conceived as a result of a sexual assault. The bill passed 40-0.

Corporate Code Clean-upSB 424 was introduced by the Kansas Secretary of State’s office to clean up the code after several laws passed in 2019. It would allow the KS SOS to use new technology in business filings. The KBA was able to beat back an amendment which would have added d/b/a and fictitious names to business filings which would have conflicted with federal and state trademark laws. The amendment version of SB 424 passed the Senate

NEW BILLS

Bench Warrants for Medical Debts – SB 477 was introduced into the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. It would prohibit a judge from issuing a bench warrant for failure to appear for medical debts. The proposed language includes:

(2)    The court shall not issue a bench warrant for the arrest of a judgment debtor for any act or failure to act that arises out of or relates to a judgment for medical debt.

This bill is in response to media coverage from SE Kansas relating to a judge issuing a bench warrant for a person who missed a hearing-in aid. See; https://features.propublica.org/medical-debt/when-medical-debt-collectors-decide-who-gets-arrested-coffeyville-kansas/ See also: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coffeyville-kansas-medical-debt-county-in-rural-kansas-is-jailing-people-over-unpaid-medical-debt/

The collection bar has mobilized, and the issue is being discussed on various legal list serves. An initial reading reveals this language impinges on the judge’s authority and makes court orders in this instance optional. The bill has not been set for a hearing, but we should be prepared.

Changing the Process for Collection of Court DebtsHB 2719 would allow court trustees to collect debts owed to the court and require a fee to be paid to the court trustee. The proposed language states:

(e) The court trustee may require a fee to be paid to or retained by the court trustee for the cost of collection of debts owed to courts in the trustee's judicial district. Such fee shall be designated as the cost of collection and shall not exceed 33% of the amount collected. The cost of collection shall be paid from the amount collected but shall not be deducted from the debts owed to courts or restitution.

The bill survived the Turnaround deadline as it was introduced in the Committee on Federal and state Affairs..

 

Tags:  2020 Turnaround deadline  abortion  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  contingency fee bills  judicial branch budget  KBA-followed measures  KPERS amortization  medicaid expansion  medical debt  reorganization 

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Legislative Alert and One Month Update on the 2020 Legislative Session

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Legislative Alert

 

On Monday, Feb. 10,  two (2) legislative proposals were introduced that would alter how Kansas lawyers advertise and contract with clients. These proposals deal specifically with contingency fee contracts and legal advertising.

 

The legal advertising proposal would require any solicitation, thru television, radio, internet, newspaper, outdoor display or any other written communication, to abide by specific restrictions. To review the language of this proposal please visit: https://www.ksbar.org/resource/dynamic/blogs/20200211_111934_16259.pdf

 

The contingency fee proposal would limit the fee an attorney could earn in personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property cases. The proposal mandates that the contingency fee contract could not exceed ( 1) 33.3% of the first $300,000; (2) 25% of the next $300,000; (3) 20% of the next $300,000; (4) 15% of the next $300,000; and (5) 10% of any amount that exceeds $1,200,000.

 

A claimant may waive these fee schedule but only after being advised by the attorney that the claimant may seek other counsel who would be willing to adhere to the statutorily imposed fee schedule. A fee schedule waive must be in writing and contain the following information:

 

"I UNDERSTAND THAT THE FEE SCHEDULE SET FORTH IN THE KANSAS STATUTES ANNOTATED LIMITS THE AMOUNT OF ATTORNEY FEES PAYABLE BY A CLAIMANT AND THAT THE STATUTE WAS INTENDED TO INCREASE THE PORTION OF THE JUDGMENT OR SETTLEMENT THAT WAS ACTUALLY RECEIVED BY A CLAIMANT. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT IN ENACTING THE FEE SCHEDULE WAS TO CONFER A BENEFIT ON A CLAIMANT LIKE MYSELF, I KNOWINGLY AND VOLUNTARILY WAIVE THE FEE SCHEDULE IN THIS CLAIM OR CIVIL ACTION."

 

If the claimant agrees to the waiver, the contingency fee contract shall not exceed 33.3%.

 

To review this proposed language please visit: https://www.ksbar.org/resource/dynamic/blogs/20200211_111934_24155.pdf

 

Should you wish to comment on either of these two proposals, please send emails to info@ksbar.org by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14.

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

One Month Update      

The Kansas Legislature has been working for a month—and it has been quite a month! The big news to start the session was the Medicaid Expansion agreement between the governor’s Office and Sen. Jim Denning. Things shifted quickly to the Constitutional Amendment on Abortion, only to end with both issues being intertwined. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article240103883.html, See also; https://www.kmuw.org/post/four-kansas-republicans-stopped-their-partys-anti-abortion-bill-gop-says-its-not-over

The abortion amendment failed last Friday, 80-43, after a five-hour Call of the House. This failure prompted Kansans for Life to publicly oppose the Medicaid Expansion proposal. Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) moved quickly after the amendment was voted down to refer all healthcare bills from the Senate calendar. This procedural rule makes it very difficult to debate and pass any healthcare bill including the proposal on Medicaid expansion.

Wagle’s strategy places the entire session in jeopardy with no one quite sure how to break the impasse.  The Senate Calendar for this week has very little activity on the floor. Committees are still busy, but whether their work gets debated by the entire Senate remains to be seen.

With its advocacy efforts, the KBA had a very busy first month of the legislative session. The KBA reviewed nearly 100 proposals and took positions on nearly a dozen. These issues range from the Uniform Family Arbitration Act (which has been in the works for over a year), to shared parenting issues and electronic notary updates. Below is information on some of the issues still in play for the KBA.

 

HB 2333 – Allowing a court to order a final adoption decree take effect at an earlier date.

The KBA was asked to review and provide comment on HB 2333 by the House Judiciary Committee. The issue centers around a Leavenworth family who adopted a child from South Korea. However, for immigration purposes the child needed to be adopted prior to her 16th birthday. This adoption failed to meet that deadline; thus, the child cannot become a naturalized US citizen. The case is ongoing.

 

HB 2401 – Providing an exception to the quorum requirements for certain corporations

The KBA has serious concerns about this bill as it lowers to needed quorum requirement to 10% of shares entitled to vote. By lowering the quorum less people are needed to alter article of incorporation and/or bylaws.  HB 2401 does not conform to any Delaware law on the issue. The KBA Business and Corporation section is working with Rep. Highberger on a non-legislative solution.

 

HB 2447 – Increasing the use of audio/visual technology in courtrooms

The Office of judicial Administration introduced a bill to increase usage of audio/visual technology in courtrooms.  The bill would allow any court to use the new technology if applicable. By using audio/visual tech, defendants would not have to travel to the court for many preliminary hearings, saving the county money on travel and staff time. The committee heard from Johnson County clerks about the possibilities in the new courthouse.

 

Rep. Kellie Warren (R-Leawood) felt the bill went too far by removing various safeguards regarding witness testimony. The language she took issue with can be found in Section 13 of the bill.

Sec. 13. K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 60-243 is hereby amended to read as follows: 60-243. (a) Form and admissibility. At trial, the witness' testimony must be taken in open court, unless otherwise provided by law. For good cause in compelling circumstances and with appropriate safeguards, the court may permit testimony in open court by contemporaneous transmission from a different location Testimony by contemporaneous transmission from a different location may be allowed whenever any party requests the use of two-way electronic audio-visual communication by written notice at least seven days prior to the scheduled hearing or proceeding. Such notice shall include the name and internet protocol address of the witness who will testify by two-way electronic audio-visual communication and the date and time the witness will testify.

The KBA SUPPORTS this bill.

HB 2461 – Public Litigation Coordination Act

The bill is sponsored by Kansas Attorney General’s office and would require public entities to receive permission from the KSAG prior to entering a contingent fee contract. We have seen several municipalities sue large corporations over the opioid epidemic and over underage vaping. Local units of government would need to apply to the KSAG for permission to enter these contracts. The KSAG would have sole discretion in approving the applications. Applications would be approved if the KSAG determined that the contract served the public interest and did not impede the legal interests of the State.

The KBA has a long-standing policy opposing litigation restriction measures. The KBA submitted written testimony in opposition. The League of Kansas Municipalities, Kansas Association of Counties, KTLA and possibly the KS Association of School Boards joined the KBA in opposing this measure.

It appears there have been negotiations between the local government associations to include language that would exempt them from certain requirements of the new act. That new language will determine the fate of the legislation. The KBA OPPOSES the bill as it was introduced.

HB 2500 – Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Kansas Judicial Council introduced this bill that amends “power of attorney” in Kansas. The bill would require third parties to accept a PoA as long as it substantially complied with certain requirements. Those third parties would be exempt from liability when they accept those documents. This proposal has been around for several years, but this is the first time the Judicial Council formally introduced it.

 

The House judiciary Committee was very skeptical of the proposal. Committee members had difficulties with the provision concerning exemptions from liability. In Section 2 of the proposal, the third party is not responsible for determining if the attorney is in fact exceeding his authority or improperly exceeding the PoA’s authority.

 

HB 2533 – Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act

The KBA introduced this bill in House Judiciary Committee. The Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA) creates a statutory scheme for the arbitration of family law disputes. Arbitration is a private process that parties may use to resolve a dispute rather than going to court. During an arbitration, a neutral third party—the arbitrator—hears arguments from the parties, evaluates evidence and offers a decision on the dispute. Although arbitration has long been used in the commercial context, it has recently begun to gain popularity in the family law sphere.

 

Under the UFLAA, a “family law dispute” is a contested issue arising under the state’s family or domestic relations law. Family law disputes typically include disagreements about marital property, spousal support, child custody and/or child support.

 

Under the Act, an arbitrator may not:

  • grant a divorce;
  • terminate parental rights;
  • grant an adoption or guardianship of a child or incapacitated person; or
  • determine the status of a child in need of protection.

The Act sets out arbitration procedures chronologically, from defining an arbitration agreement to providing standards for vacating a confirmed award. Many of the provisions of the UFLAA will be familiar to arbitrators and practitioners of dispute resolution. This is because the UFLAA is based in part on the Uniform Arbitration Act (1955) and Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (2000). The UFLAA’s provisions for arbitrator disclosure, award, appeals, and arbitrator immunity are, among others, drawn substantially from these earlier uniform acts. The KBA SUPPORTS this bill.

 

SB 157 – Presumptive Shared Parenting Plans

This bill amends the Kansas Family Code governing temporary parenting plans. The proposal would require equal access to the child from the filing of a divorce action to the entering of a permanent child custody order. The temporary parenting plan awarding joint legal custody will presume to be in the best interest of the child. However, if there is documentation or other information supporting a finding of domestic abuse, there would be a finding that temporary joint legal custody is not in the best interest of the child.

 

This bill was sponsored by 17 senators, supported by the Senate Judiciary Committee and all three lawyer/legislators. The Senate approved the bill 39-1 (Sen. Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, the lone NO vote.) The KBA OPPOSES this bill.

 

SB 269 – Increasing the age of retirement for judges from 75 to 80

Sen. Vic Miller (D-Topeka) introduced this bill. It increases the mandatory retirement age for judges from 75 to 80. This would affect 5 current judges who will otherwise be forced to retire before the end of their current terms. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill out favorably, but the Senate sent it back because it would apply to appellate judges. The KBA SUPPORTS this bill.

 

SB 334 – Modifying certain rules of evidence to conform to the federal rules of evidence

The Kansas Judicial Council introduced this bill in response to a Kansas Court of Appeals case: State v. Patrick, No. 117516 2018 WL 4374269 (Kan. App. 2018) which stated that a printout of an implied consent form in a DUI action was not the best evidence since the original was not lost or destroyed. SB 334 would eliminate this uncertainty by updating Kansas evidence rules with Federal rules.

 

 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Abortion amendment  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Contingency Fee Contracts  HB 2333  HB 2401  HB 2447  HB 2461 Public Litigation Coordination Act  HB 2500 Uniform Power of Attorney Act  HB 2533 Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act  Legal Advertising  Medicaid Expansion  SB 157  SB 269  SB 334 

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Aaaaaaand.....They're Back!

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, January 13, 2020

Yesterday, the 2020 Legislative Session began with a bit of a weather delay. Legislative staff were allowed to come in at 10 a.m.—which is surprising—due to icy fog. However, the start of the session was not postponed, and it went off as planned at 2:00 pm.

Day 1 was as quiet as I have seen in recent years. No formal committees met, and no floor action took place. Week 1 is much the same with the big exception being the State-of-the-State address later this evening. Gov. Kelly will address the Legislature and the state for the second time, but she has a year of experience behind her now. It is anticipated she will focus on Medicaid Expansion and tout the recent compromise reached with Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning (R-Overland Park). Last week, Gov. Kelly and Sen. Denning stood together to announce a plan to expand Medicaid in Kansas. See; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20200109/kansas-gov-laura-kelly-sen-jim-denning-reveal-bipartisan-medicaid-expansion-deal; See also; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article239115823.html.

The proposal, which was pre-filed as SB 252, has 22 Senate co-sponsors. This is one more than needed to pass. The compromised plan is not without obstacles though. Sen. President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) continues to oppose expanding Medicaid, and she has several legislative procedures at her disposal to delay the bill from receiving a vote. Efforts will be made to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, but many of those same procedures have been thwarted in the past. There is a good chance that Medicaid Expansion will drag on and remain in the news for the better part of the session.

Gov. Kelly may also discuss tax cuts on food, tax on internet sales, state employee raises, and the reorganization of DCF and KDADS into a new department titled KS Department of Human Services. She is likely to touch on Osawatomie Hospital and Criminal justice Reform. This year, she won’t have to worry about a lagging state budget or underwhelming revenue projections; the Consensus Revenue Estimate Group has projected an additional $535 million over the next 24 months. This unexpected revenue will come in handy when its time to pay off school finance, expand Medicaid and provide state employees with additional benefits. The one hot topic concerning the budget is Gov. Kelly’s second attempt at amortizing KPERS. This would make KPERS payment slower in the short run but force payments to be made for additional years on the backend. Legislators balked at this proposal in 2019 and will most likely oppose it again in 2020. See; https://hayspost.com/posts/5e13ae2e57544d3fe90e8f4e

As for the legislature, things will pick up steam next week. Look for overviews on the budget, updates on the abortion amendment and the introduction of dozens of bills. Should be an interesting start to the year.

To access live updates during the session, you can follow us on twitter @KansaBarLeg. Look for our Big Item of the Day and Pic of the Day beginning on Jan 13th.

Tags:  2020 Legislative Session  amortizing KPERS  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Consensus Revenue Estimate Group  Kansas Department of Human Services  Medicaid Expansion  sales tax  SB 252 

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Sine Die 2019 -- UPDATE

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Kansas Legislature had one of the most memorable ends to a session in its history. The day began with Medicaid expansion supporters interrupting the Senate session by singing a hymn and chanting their support for healthcare. This led Senate leadership to clear the gallery, remove news reporters from the senate floor and lock the doors to the senate chamber. This is the first time I have ever seen this action taken. Reporters were told to clear the chamber or lose their press credentials. The chamber remained locked when senate proceedings resumed. It was an interesting start to the day. See; https://media.kansascity.com/livegraphics/2019/pdf/WagleLtr052919.pdf See also; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190529/medicaid-expansion-supporters-drown-out-kansas-senate-proceedings. Here is a youtube video of the protest. Chants begin around 32:35 mark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdzTSgJHV-4&app=desktop. A statement from Senate President Susan Wagle on this incident can be found on her twitter feed - https://twitter.com/SenatorWagle

When activities resumed, the Kansas Senate quickly confirmed Sarah E. Warner to the Kansas Court of Appeals. The final tally was 37-1. The sole “nay” vote was from Sen. John Doll (I-Garden City) who wanted to see a nominee from western Kansas. See; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190529/kansas-senate-affirms-court-of-appeals-nominee-sends-signal-to-supreme-court

The Senate then approved a motion to remove SCR 1610 from the judiciary committee and refer it to the whole Senate. SCR 1610 is the proposed constitutional amendment that would replace the merit selection process for Supreme Court justices with the nominate/appoint model used for the Kansas Court of Appeals. SCR 1610 was approved 28-10.  See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/vote_view/je_20190529124439_160305/

Sen. Masterson (R-Andover) made the initial motion, but declined to have a debate on the merits, at this time. His wants to have an interim committee review the process. No date has been set. It is likely that the issue will be sent back to Senate Judiciary in 2020 for hearings and debate.

Both chambers were able to pass another resolution dealing with natural disaster in Kansas. This will help with flooding and the recent tornado damages. HCR 5015 passed unanimously. See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/hcr5015/

Both chambers were also able to override Gov. Kelly’s budget vetoes. The vetoes were bundled into one measure and passed the Senate 27-11, with the House approving the override 86-30. See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/sb25/

 

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  budget vetoes  HCR 5015  judicial appointment process  KS Court of Appeals  Medicaid expansion  Sarah E. Warner  SCR 1610 

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