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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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VOTE

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: https://www.fhsu.edu/docking/Kansas-Speaks/kansas-speaks-report-fall-2018

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 - http://www.kcur.org/post/seg-1-voting-judicial-retention-elections-seg-2-kansas-citys-only-pay-what-you-can-caf#stream/0

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 https://www.kansas.com/news/special-reports/judging-the-judges/.

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: https://www.jocobar.org/page/judicialevals2018

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. http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/court-of-appeals/judge-bios/default.asp.

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 – www.kssos.org. You can find your polling place by entering your information here - https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do

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

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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: http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/district-courts/process.asp

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: https://www.kansas.com/news/special-reports/judging-the-judges/.

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: https://www.jocobar.org/page/judicialevals2018

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: http://www.kssos.org/elections/elections_upcoming_candidate_display.asp

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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2018 General Election Preview

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

With the Primary challenges behind us we can now focus our attention on November and the general election. Kansans will head to the polls to select four congressional seats, all statewide offices, 125 House races and 1 Kansas Senate seat. Nearly half of all House races are uncontested (62 total, 37 Republicans and 25 Democrats). The lone Kansas Senate seat is a three-way affair with Senator Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena) facing off against Bryan Hoffman (D-Mulberry) and San Habjan (L-Frontenac).

Congressional Races

1st District - Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) will face off against Alan LaPolice (D-Clyde). This is a rematch from 2016 when Marshall bested LaPolice 65%-26%.

2nd District – This is an open seat since Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins is stepping down. GOP-endorsed candidate Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) faces off against Paul Davis (D- Lawrence). Pollsters have listed this race as a toss up. See; https://www.cookpolitical.com/ratings/house-race-ratings See also; http://www2.ljworld.com/news/state-government/2018/aug/27/gop-officials-in-2nd-district-mend-fences-with-congressional-candidate-steve-watkins/.

3rd District – Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) is being challenged by Sharice Davids (D-Kansas City). Many also see this race as very close.

4th District – Congressman Ron Estes (R-Wichita) will face Wichita lawyer James Thompson (D-Andover). This is a rematch from the 2017 special election where the Estes beat Thompson 52%-46%.

Statewide Races

Governor/Lt. Governor

This is a crowded 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 but getting very little air time are Richard and Nathaniel Kloos (I-Topeka) and Jeff Caldwell/Mary Gerlt (L-Leawood). This will be the most watched race of the season.

Secretary of State

After surviving a five-way race in the primary Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) will face political newcomer and Google Earth designer Brian “BAM” McClendon (D-Lawrence).

Kansas Attorney General

KSAG Derek Schmidt (R-Independence) looks to wrap up another four-year term when he faces off against Lawrence attorney Sarah Swain (D-Lawrence).

Kansas State Treasurer

Jake LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) will defend his seat against Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence). Both served in the Kansas Senate together.

 

 

Kansas Commissioner of Insurance

This is an open seat since current Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer ran for governor in the Republican primary and lost. State Senator Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) goes up against Nathaniel McLaughlin (D-Kansas City).

Lawyers in the Legislator

Last session there were 18 legislators with legal training. Going into the 2018 General Election (by my count) only 16 are running for office. Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) is not up for reelection. Rep. Erin Davis decided not to seek reelection and Rep. Steven Becker (R-Buhler) lost a very close primary race to Paul Waggoner. The margin was just 5 votes.

Five Lawyer/Legislators are in uncontested races this November.

They are:

Rep.  Dennis “Boog” Highberger (D-Lawrence: HD 54);

Rep.  Vic “T-Bone” Miller (D-Topeka: HD 58);

Rep.  John Carmichael (D-Wichita: HD 92);

Rep. Leonard Mastroni (R-La Crosse: HB 117);

Rep.  Bradley Ralph (R-Dodge City: HD 119).

Eight Lawyer/Legislators are incumbents with challengers this fall. They include:

Rep. John Barker (R-Abilene: HD 70);

Rep. Jesse Burris (R-Mulvane: HD 82);

Rep. Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa: HD 59);

Rep. Tim Hodge (D-North Newton): HD 72);

Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita: HD 99);

Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka: HD 50);

Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita: HD 86); and;

Rep. John Wheeler (R- Garden City: HD 123)

Three lawyers are in the general election. They include:

Mark Samsel (R-Wellsville). Mark is an attorney with Lathrop & Gage and a 2010 KU Law grad. He challenges Lassey Murphy (D-Lane) for the open seat in House District 5 vacated by Kevin Jones.

Kellie Warren (R-Leawood) defeated Rep. Joy Koesten in the August primary and now takes on Brian Clausen (D- Leawood) for the 28th House District. Warren has degree from Cornell and is a KU Law grad. She practices real estate law.

James Todd (R-Overland Park) is a former legislator (2013-2016) who is challenging Rep. Brett Parker (D- Overland Park) in House District 29. James is a KU Law Grad. This is a rematch from 2016 when Parker defeated Todd 52%/47%.

Closing Thoughts.

After reviewing the primary results, it appears Kansas has moved to the right just a bit with several moderate freshman having lost primary races. There is a question of how well many democrats will do in the general election given the national political climate. But the main event remains the governor’s race, the outcome of which will have a huge impact going into 2019.

Tags:  election 

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Counting Continues...........

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Just last week Kansans went to the polls to select their candidates in the August Primary Election. Today, a full week later we are still counting votes. The Republican governor race is still in limbo. As of this writing, Kris Kobach leads Gov. Colyer by 206 votes; that is up from 191 on election night. But some big counties are reviewing provisional ballots as we speak, and things could change. See; https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article216625110.html

Further muddying the issue is the fact that some poll workers mistakenly advised unaffiliated voters to fill out provisional ballots instead of having them declare a party and then cast their vote. How those ballots are dealt with remains to be seen, but this is an area ripe for legal action.

As Republicans work the process and mull the possibility of a recount, Laura Kelly, the Democrat nominee, is fundraising and campaigning. Joining her is independent candidate Greg Orman who just last week turned in over 10,000 signatures to get on the general election ballot. See; http://www.cjonline.com/news/20180806/independent-greg-orman-submits-10000-signatures-in-bid-to-qualify-for-kansas-gubernatorial-ballot

Democrats see an opening should Kobach win the nomination. One poll has shown Laura Kelly winning a three-way race against Kobach but losing to Colyer under similar circumstances. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article215375450.html

Statewide Races General Election Match-Up

Secretary of State - Rep. Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) vs. Brian McClendon

Commissioner of Insurance - Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) vs. Nathaniel McLaughlin

Kansas Attorney General - Attorney General Derek Schmidt vs. Sarah Swain (D-Lawrence)

State Treasurer - Jake LaTurner vs. Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence)

Congressional Races

1st District - Congressman Roger Marshall easily won the primary race 79% to 21%. He should be reelected in November.

2nd District – Political newcomer Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) won a crowded primary field with 26% of the vote. He will face off against former state rep and the democrat nominee for the 2014 governor race Paul Davis (D- Lawrence). This should be an interesting race.

3rd District – Congressman Kevin Yoder won a three-way primary with 68% of the vote. He will face off against Sharice Davids. Another one to watch in November as many see this as a possible flip.

4th District – Congressman Ron Estes beat challenger Ron Estes. The Ron Estes’ won 100% of the vote in the 4th District. Congressman Ron Estes will face Wichita lawyer James Thompson. This is a rematch from the special election a few years ago where the congressman beat Thompson 52%-46%.

As elections go, this was and continues to be a very interesting year. Conservatives have the chance to claw back a few seats they lost in 2016, but Democrats see an opportunity to increase their numbers should the “Blue Wave” visit Kansas. How this all plays out remains to be seen but first, let’s finish counting the votes.

Tags:  election  Kris Kobach  Laura Kelly 

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018 PRIMARY ELECTIONS

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, August 7, 2018

VOTE.

Polling places open TODAY 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

No excuses. No rationalizations.

Embrace your civic duty:

VOTE.

Tags:  election  election day 

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Primary Elections—Campaign Finance

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Next week, Kansans head to the polls to vote in Republican and Democrat primaries. For most races, the primary will narrow the field to two candidates—except for the Governor’s race, where Independent candidate Greg Orman looms large.

In advance of the primary election, each campaign is required to release their finance reports. These reports, filed with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, can be viewed here: http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/SWLinks2018EC.htm

The big take away from the larger campaigns is the amount of self-funding. For instance, the Kobach campaign report indicates that running mate Wink Hartman has contributed well over $1 million to the campaign.  See; http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/201807/SW01KK_201807.pdf, See also; http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/jul/31/kobachs-running-mate-lends-1-5-million-to-campaign-finance-reports-show/.

In his effort to remain in office, Gov. Colyer has raised over $1.3 million and spent $1.2 Million. He has just over $175,000 remaining. Gov. Colyer did not report any personal loans to his campaign. The governor, at this point, leads all candidates for amounts raised from individual contributors with over $833,000 contributed. See; http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/201807/SW01JC_201807.pdf

Independent candidate Greg Orman loaned his campaign $650,000 in the week preceding the filing deadline. See; http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/201807/SW01GO_201807.pdf. The report listed the contribution from a credit card but the Orman camp has clarified that the payment was made via check. Orman has received nearly $230,000 from individual contributions. See; https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article215809175.html.

For the Democrats, Laura Kelly leads the way with $727,000 available this period. She spent nearly $500,000 and has over $235,000 left. She received over $570,000 from individual contributions this period. See; http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/201807/SW01LK_201807.pdf

Josh Svaty raised nearly $280,000. Of this mount more than 75% came from individual contributions. Svaty has spent almost $245,000. See; http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/201807/SW01JS_201807.pdf

Carl Brewer’s camp received $95,000 and spent $82,000 – See; http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2018ElecCycle/201807/SW01CB_201807.pdf

If you would like to receive an advance mail-in ballot, TODAY is the last day to apply. The application can be found here - http://www.sos.ks.gov/forms/elections/AV1.pdf. You can also vote early by visiting your county clerk’s office. Those locations and hours of operation can be found here - http://www.kssos.org/elections/18elec/2018_Primary_Election_Advance_Voting_Times_Locations.pdf

You can always opt to vote on election day, August 7th, at your polling place. Find your polling place by visiting this website - https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do

Tags:  campaign finance  election  primary  primary election 

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Election 2016

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Joseph N. Molina III
Legislative Services Director

KansasBarLeg
Email

With all the votes tallied Kansas will find itself in a familiar position come 2017. While both chambers remain Republican-heavy, they have moved to the center which will help with those big-ticket items sure to eat up legislative days next session. The final count looks like 85 republicans will coexist with 40 Democrats. Democrats improved their position by 12 seats. Equally important are the big wins by moderate republicans in the primary and general elections. Several big-name incumbents losing last night were Rep. Marc Rhoades, Rep. Amanda Grosserode, Rep. Chuck Smith, and Rep. Sue Boldra. Rep.-Elect Eber Phelps defeated Sue Boldra, reclaiming his seat and the title of only democrat in Western Kansas.

Several lawyer/legislators were defeated: Rep. Jan Pauls, Rep. Lane Hemsley and Rep. James Todd failed to retain their seats, and Senate candidate and lawyer Bill Hutton lost to Sen. Fitzgerald by 500 votes. If my math is correct and I didn’t miss anyone, there 14 lawyer/legislators remain in the legislature. The most surprising result is the Republicans have no licensed attorney to chair Senate Judiciary Committee.

The statewide seats all remained in Republican hands as U.S. Sen. Moran, U.S. Rep. Pompeo, U.S. Rep. Jenkins, U.S. Rep. Yoder and Representative-Elect Marshall all won going away. These Kansans will work closely with the President-Elect Trump who won a close election last night against former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In huge news, all Kansas appellate court judges/justices were retained. The margin for Kansas Supreme Court Justices ran from a high of 71% (Stegall) to 55% (Nuss). While the ten point spread for Chief Justice Nuss was slim, it still outperformed the retention election results from two years ago where Justice Johnson and Justice Rosen received 52.7% and 52.6% respectively.

The raw numbers saw Justice Stegall, Judge Gardner and Judge Bruns outpace the historical margins with positive votes of more than 715,000. The remaining justices and judges hovered around 600,000 positive votes. Nevertheless, they retained their positions.

The most interesting retention data point came from Sedgwick County where voters decided to retain all judges/justices with the lowest margin being 54% / 46% for Justice Biles. This jurisdiction voted against retaining Justice Rosen and Justice Johnson in 2014.

For complete unofficial election results please visit – http://www.sos.ks.gov/ent/kssos_ent.html

Tags:  election 

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Today, Nov. 8, is Election Day. Polls are Open Till 7 p.m.

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

To locate your polling place please visit - https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do

Please get out and vote – remember to finish the ballot.

Tags:  election  election day 

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