Print Page | Sign In | Register
The Advocate
Blog Home All Blogs
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.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

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 

Turnaround 2020

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, February 24, 2020

This Thursday. February 27th,  the Kansas Legislature will hit its midway point, when bills not passed out of their House of Origin can no longer be passed into law. This day, commonly referred to as “Turnaround,” most of the bills introduced this session fall by the wayside. There are still procedural maneuvers that optimistic lawmakers can use to survive this deadline. They can introduce their bill into an exempt committee, (House Appropriations, Senate Ways & Means or either chamber’s Federal & State Committee, or they can have their bill “blessed” by leadership.) To be “blessed,” the bill must be referred to one of these exempt committees. The water cooler talk is that the Kansas Senate plans to take a bare bones approach to Turnaround and not bless as many bills as in past years.

The KBA had a productive Week 7. Last week, the KBA focused on four bills dealing with legal fees and legal advertising. These bills are:

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.

 

The KBA issued a Call to Action that urged KBA members to contact Senators to express their concerns with these bills. The Call to Action was emailed to 5854 individuals. Some 1624 individuals opened the email, with 204 taking additional action of reading the bill and searching for their Senator.

At present, these bills HAVE NOT been set for hearing. Furthermore, these bills HAVE NOT been referred to any exempt committee. Should these bills not be “blessed,” they will be stricken from the calendar. The only option then would be for the sponsors of the bills to re-introduce them into an exempt committee after the deadline. We have a week left, so it is still possible one of these options are used could be used to keep the bills active past the deadline.

With the Senate bills tied up, the Kansas Attorney General is using the amendment process to move his issue forward. The KS AG introduced HB 2461 in January. That bill banned contingency fee contracts entered by public entities. HB 2461 is titled the Public Litigation Coordination Act. The KBA opposed this bill and the bill languished. The KS AG will attempt to amend the bill in committee. They will use the language in SB 444. The KBA has expressed its opposition to the amendment.

Judicial Branch Budget

The General Government Budget committee held a hearing on the Judicial Branch Budget this week. Chief Justice Marla Luckert presented to the committee. The KBA submitted testimony in support of the supplemental request for $17.1 million to fund salary increases for judges and staff. The committee plans to work this budget this week. Raises will help with our national ranking which places Kansas near the bottom in every judicial salary category. See the latest Judicial Salary Chart - https://www.ncsc.org/salarytracker.

Other news

The House has passed HB 2447, audio/visual use in courtrooms. The final vote was 83-39. This bill goes to the Senate now.

House Judiciary approved HB 2533, family law arbitration act. The bill will be debate on the House floor next week.

House Judiciary approved HB 2713, revised Uniform Laws on Notarial Act. This bill will also be debated on the House Floor next week.

House Local Government has referred HB 2600, Contract for Deed proposal to the Kansas Judicial Council. The KBA opposed this bill and suggested that the referral be made to better study the issue.

Senate Commerce declined to add an amendment to SB 424, extending the effective date for certain LLC statutes until July 1, 2022. The amendment would have added fictitious name statutes to names that can be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. The KBA opposed this amendment as it interferes with federal and state trademark laws. The amendment may return as a stand-alone bill.

This will be a long week at the Capitol. Look for daily updates via live tweeting @KansasBarLeg.

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  contingency fee contracts  contract for deed  family law arbitration  judicial branch budget  Public Litigation Coordination Act  s  Turnaround Deadline  use of audio/visual in courtrooms  Weekly-2020-02-25 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Abortion Amendment Takes Center Stage

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, February 4, 2020

This week the Kansas Senate approved a constitutional amendment on abortion; Gov. Laura Kelly created a nominating commission for Kansas Court of Appeals openings, and the KBA testified on two bills.

Last Wednesday evening, the Kansas Senate approved SCR 1613 which allows the legislature to make laws concerning abortion. This amendment would be placed on the August primary ballot. The final tally was 28-12 to approve. SCR 1613 was amended once to make the August primary a “special election”. This change was to fix a technicality which required all constitutional amendments to be placed on a special or general election. The August primary did not qualify, thus the need to amend the resolution. The resolution now heads to the House which is dealing with its own constitutional amendment on abortion. The House debate should come next week. Passage in the House will be more difficult, with 84 votes needed to approve. See; https://www.cjonline.com/news/20200129/kansas-senate-passes-constitutional-amendment-on-abortion; See also; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article239732848.html

Last Tuesday, Gov. Kelly issued an Executive Order to create a nominating commission for the Kansas Court of Appeals. The commission will operate much as does the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. It will have 9 members, with 5 lawyers and 4 nonlawyers. Gov. Kelly will appoint all members to the commission including two from each congressional district and one chair. Linda Parks will be the Chair.

The KBA testified on two bills this week:

SB 269 – Increasing the retirement age for District Court Judges from 75-80 yrs. of age

The KBA joined Sen. Vic Miller and District Judge Norbet Marek in supporting the bill. The bill would allow a judge to serve to the age of 80. Currently a judge must retire upon reaching 75, unless their term of service extends past the age of 75. In that situation, the judge may serve till the end of their term. SB 269 would mandate a judge retire at age 80. Sen. Pyle (R-Hiawatha) had concerns that centered on the judicial selection process. He floated a term limit on judges but did not make that proposal official. The Senate Judiciary committee should work the bill in the coming weeks.

HB 2461 – Public Litigation Coordination Act

The KBA, KTLA, Kansas Counties, the League of Municipalities, Kansas School Board Association and seven other individual associations opposed HB 2461. This bill would prohibit public entities from entering contingency fee contracts without the written approval from the Kansas Attorney General. The purpose of the bill is to allow the state the opportunity to coordinate litigation of large public health issue, specifically opioids and vaping. The KSAG is willing to negotiate the specifics of the bill to carve out legal services that are not the intended target of the legislation and narrow the scope to satisfy local government issues, but the underlining policy of contingency fee contracts remains an issue. We will work with the committee on any amendments.

The KBA is monitoring several other bills including:

HB 2401 – LLC Quorum requirements

Rep. Boog Highberger (D-Lawrence) proposed a bill that would lower the quorum requirements for certain corporations to 10 percent. This bill is designed to assist the Merc Co-Op in Lawrence, Kansas, increase its corporate stock number. The Merc Co-Op would like to raise additional capital, but its corporate structure requires a vote by shareholders. The Merc board has attempted to hold an annual meeting to make these changes but has been unable to attain a quorum; so Rep. Highberger offered HB 2401. Our Corporate Law Section has concerns that this will negatively impact corporate law in Kansas.  The section objects to legislation designed for a single entity and believes that non-legislative solutions are available to the Merc. The KBA will work with Rep. Highberger on the bill as it progresses.

HB 2500 – Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The bill is sponsored by the Kansas Judicial Council. The council proposed a similar bill two years ago which was roundly criticized and eventually withdrawn from consideration. The goal of the legislation is to require third parties to accept durable Power of Attorneys. The KBA Title Standard Committee is closely monitoring this bill.

Next week, the KBA will be involved in at least two bills:

SB 334 – Amendments to authentication of records and documents

The Kansas Judicial Council is attempting to amend the “Best Evidence Rule” in Kansas. SB 334 would modernize our authentication of document rules to better conform to the federal rule of evidence. Dean Jim Concannon is testifying in support of the bill and on behalf of the Kansas Judicial Council.

HB 2553 – Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act

The KBA approved the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act at our December meeting. This bill has been introduced, and a hearing is set for Wednesday, February 5th in House Judiciary.  Prof. Linda Elrod will testify on the bill, and Larry Rute has submitted testimony on behalf of the KBA.

Tags:  2020 Legislative Session  abortion  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  HB 2401  HB 2461  HB 2500  HB 2553  LLC Quorum requirements  nominating commission for Court of Appeals  Public Litigation Coordination Act  SB 269 raising judges' retirement age to 80  SB 334  SCR 1613 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)