Legislative Issues – 2019

The 2019 Kansas Legislature convened on Monday, January 14, 2019 for the first year of the 2019-2020 Legislature.

The Kansas legislative session generally runs for 90-days until approximately mid-April ( but the 2017 Legislative Session lasted 105-days, tying a record). Elections for all House members and the Governor occurred in November 2018. With that election, Laura Kelly (D) was elected Governor defeating Kris Kobach. The House became more polarized since some Republican moderates were defeated by right-wing Republicans in the primary and others were defeated by Democratic candiates in the General Election (notably in northeast Johnson County).

Bills introduced into the 2019 Legislative Session survive for consideration in the 2018 legislative session.

For the 2019 Session of the Kansas Legislature, individual requests for bill introductions had to be submitted before February 4, 2019; with committee introductions before February 11, 2019. All bills must pass its house-of-origin on or before February 28, 2019 (with some exceptions) or they die for the session. The Legislature takes its mid-term break on March 1, resuming on Wednesday, March 6 for the second-half of the session.

Bills, other than for funding, must pass the opposite house from origin on or before March 27, 2019 (second-house turn-around). All Bills must be considered for final action (other than bills from “exempt” committees) on or before April 5, 2019 (the “drop dead” date), when the Kansas House and Senate take “first adjournment.”

The Legislature returns for its “Veto Session” on May 1, 2019.

The Legislature returns again in late May 2019 for adjournment sine die.

In December 2018, leading up to the session, three Republican lawmakers, Sen. Barbara Bollier (Mission Hills), Sen. Dinah Sykes (Lenexa), and Rep. Stephanie Clayton (Overland Park), changed their party affiliation from Republican to Democratic stating that the Republican Party’s dramatic turn to the right and party leadership’s insistence that the legislature start over again on education funding, including another attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that would make the legislature the sole arbiter of whether its actions were constitutional.

The following family law and -related bills and concurrent resolutions were introduced during and pending in the 2019 Kansas Legislature:

Senate:

SB20: Courts; Judicial funding, extending  judicial branch surcharge to fund non-judicial salaries (PASSED SENATE 35-5)

This bill, introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee, would extend the existing judicial surcharge from its current end date (June 30, 2019) to June 30, 2021. The bill would direct that the moneys received from the surcharge be used to fund the salaries of non-judicial salaries within the Kansas judicial system. The bill would make other technical changes, including deletion of obsolete language. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Committee heard testimony on the bill January 30, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. Among the groups testifying, Kansans for Life testified against the bill. The Kansas Bar Association testified in favor of the bill. On February 7, 2019, the Judiciary Committee recommended passage of the bill with an amendment to remove the sunset dates and make the surcharge permanent. On February 12, 2019, the Senate debated the amended bill in Committee of the Whole and accepted the Committee’s recommendation to pass on the amended bill to the entire Senate. On February 13, 2019, the Senate passed the bill as amended 35 Nay: 5, sending the bill to the House.

The bill was introduced into the House February 14, 2019 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings. The House Judiciary Committee scheduled hearings on the bill for Thursday, March 7, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S.

SB37: Abuse; requiring duly ordained minister of religion or an employee of or volunteer for a religious organization to report certain abuse and neglect of children.

This bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Holland (D-Baldwin City), would add duly ordained ministers of religion and employees and volunteers for religious organizations as mandatory reporters of child abuse while protecting pastoral privilege in appropriate circumstances. The bill was referred to the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee for hearing.

SB55: Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act

This bill was introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 29, 2019. The Act (UPHPA) was adopted by the Uniform Laws Commission in 2010 is an act of limited scope which addresses a widespread, well-documented problem faced by many low to middle-income families across the country who have been dispossessed of their real property and much of their real property-related wealth over the past several decades as a result of court-ordered partition sales of tenancy-in-common properties. The highly unstable ownership these families experience stands in sharp contrast to the secure property rights wealthier families typically enjoy.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and set for hearing on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

SB77: Requiring the department for children and families to offer services to children with problem sexual behavior and to such child’s family (PASSED SENATE 38-0)

Introduced into the Senate Committee on Judiciary, this bill (a duplicate of HB2094) would require the Kansas Department of Children and Families to provide  counseling and, as needed, additional services to a family of any child against whom a complaint had been made that the child had “problem sexual behavior” to offer counseling and treatment to the child and the child’s family unless the department determines there will be a high risk of future sexual abuse by the child with problem sexual behavior if such child or such child’s family refuses to accept the services.

The bill was assigned for hearing to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which set the bill for hearing on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On February 21, 2019, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended that the bill be passed with an amendment to require DCF provide a referral to a child advocacy center instead of offering counseling. The amendment also adjusted the language describing a child with sexual behavior problems. On February 27, 2019, the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended passage of the amended bill, which the Senate passed Yea: 38 Nay: 0 on Emergency Final Action that same day. The bill was sent to the House for consideration after first adjournment.

When introduced in the House, the bill was assigned to the Committee on State and Federal Affairs. The Committee scheduled hearings on Monday, March 18 19, 2019, at 9:00 AM in Room 346-S, with final action on the bill scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

SB85: Domestic battery; authorizing staggered  sentencing.

This bill would allow any sentence imposed for domestic battery to be broken up into segments (e.g. three 30-day terms instead of one  90-day  term). The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

SB88: Protective Orders; increasing penalties for violation.

This bill would increase the penalty for violating a civil protection order issued in a protection from abuse action,  a protection from  stalking action, or in a domestic relations action to a Severity Level 7 felony for a second and subsequent violation.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was scheduled for hearings on Friday, February 22, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. The bill was not worked by committee and did not survive for consideration during the 2019 Legislative Session.

SB108: Child Abuse; Increasing criminal penalties, presumption of unfitness against any parent convicted of certain crimes.

This bill, introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee, would increase criminal penalties for abuse of a child and involuntary manslaughter when the victim is under 6 years of age. It would also institute a statutory presumption of parental unfitness against any parent convicted of either crime. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the bill Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at 10:30 AM Room in 346-S. On February 25, 2019, the Committee amended the bill to raise the child abuse penalty to severity level 4 instead of severity level 3, remove the CINC Code provision, and name the bill “Mireya’s Law.” As amended, the Committee recommended passage. The bill was placed on the debate calendar, but was withdrawn from the Calendar and re-referred to Committee on Ways and Means (an exempt committee) to that it could be considered by the Senate after first adjournment. The bill was placed back on the Calender for Committee of the Whole discussion February 28, 2019.

SB119: Courts; encouraging districts to set up specialty courts

This bill, introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee by Sen. Haley (D-Topeka), would encourage state judicial districts to set up “specialty courts,” defined as “a court program that uses therapeutic or problem-solving procedures to address underlying factors that may be contributing to a person’s involvement in the criminal justice system, including, but not limited to, mental illness or drug, alcohol or other addiction.” At the time of the bill’s introduction, Johnson County and Sedgewick County have specialty courts set up and the Kansas Supreme Court has a rule governing specialty courts.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearing. The Committee scheduled hearings on the bill for Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

SB150: Housing; protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking (PASSED SENATE 40-0)

This bill, introduced on February 12, 2019, would provide protections for victims of domestic violence against being evicted from or discriminated against in housing. It is a duplicate of HB2258. The Senate sponsors are Senators Sykes, Alley, Baumgardner, Berger, Bollier, Doll, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Givens, Haley, Hardy, Hawk, Hensley, Hilderbrand, Holland, Kerschen, Longbine, McGinn, Miller, Olson, Pettey, Skubal, Taylor, Wagle, Ware, and Wilborn. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings.

On February 21, 2019, the bill was withdrawn from the Committee on Judiciary and referred instead to the Committee on Ways and Means (an exempt committee). The bill was withdrawn from the Committee on Ways and Means on the next day, February 22, 2019, and re-referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings. The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled hearings after first adjournment for Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On March 12, 2019, the Committee amended the bill to remove administrative agency records from the listed supporting documents, specify that the allowable termination fee could not exceed one month’s rent, and clarified terminology in the termination fee provision, and recommended that the Senate pass the bill as amended. On March 14, 2019, the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill be passed as amended by Committee. The Senate passed the bill the same day Yea: 40 Nay: 0 on Emergency Final Action, sending it to the House for consideration.

The amended bill was introduced into the House on March 15, 2019, and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee scheduled hearings on the bill for Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S.

SB157: Child Custody; creating a presumption in favor of equal parenting time for temporary orders.

This bill, introduced on the last day for introduction of bills by individual legislators, is a duplicate of HB2196. The Senate version of the bill, introduced by Senators Hilderbrand, Alley, Berger, Doll, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Goddard, Haley, Holland, Longbine, Olson, Petersen, Skubal, Suellentrop, Taylor, Wagle and Wilborn. Like its House counterpart, the bill would require courts to impose upon families – both divorcing and couples who had never married – equal parenting time when temporary orders are issued. This bill is another in a line of proposed bad solutions for problems that don’t exist coming from complaints by individuals arising from their own cases and seeking to impose upon everyone in the system cookie-cutter solutions. Just this past December, the Kansas Judicial Council issued a report that strongly came out against these kinds presumptions in its 2018 Report on HB2529, a bill that would have done essentially the same thing this bill seeks, but with final orders. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearing.

On February 25, 2019, the bill was withdrawn from Committee on Judiciary and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means to protect it from being dead for the session. The bill was withdrawn from the Committee on Ways and Means and referred back to the Senate Judiciary Committee the next day, February 26, 2019, and set for hearing on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On March 7, 2019, twenty proponents and 7 opponents, including Ronald W. Nelson, presented testimony. WIBW-TV presented a summary of the testimony in an article the next day quoting Ronald W. Nelson, who presented testimony in opposition to the bill.

SB160: Crimes; related to domestic violence calls to law enforcement.

This bill was introduced by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 13, 2019. It would require law enforcement officers investigating alleged domestic violence to give certain notices and conduct a lethality assessment to victims and others who are affected. The bill would require police to provide information to victims about the timing of their abuser’s release from custody when an arrest is made. KSNT (Topeka) aired a short segment about the reasons for the bill on February 13. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearing.

SB161: Defining the term “primary aggressor” in criminal code and for protection from abuse actions.

This bill, introduced on February 13, 2019, by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would define the term “primary aggressor” in the state criminal code (with references to it in the protection from abuse act) as “the person determined to be the most significant aggressor, rather than the first aggressor. In determining the primary aggressor, the court or an officer shall consider the intent of the law to protect victims of domestic violence from continuing abuse, the threats creating fear of physical injury, the history of domestic violence between the persons involved, the nature of the injuries suffered or inflicted on another and whether either person acted in self-defense.” The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings.

SB162: Children; DCF notification by foster care management contractors (PASSED SENATE 40-0)

This bill was introduced by the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare to require notification by a foster care case management contractor and the Kansas DCF if a child in the care of the department is missing from state care for any of the reasons stated in the bill. This bill is an outgrowth of the study of the Kansas Foster Care System for reported and continuing administrative failures through the past years. The bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare for hearings.

The bill was set for hearing Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 9:30 AM Room 118-N, but that hearing was cancelled and rescheduled the next day, February 21, 2019 at 9:30 AM in Room 118-N. Senator Baumgardner (R-Louisburg) testified in favor of the bill stating the bill would provide additional transparency and assure the Executive branch, the Legislative branch, and the general public receive timely information about delays in out-of-home placement and the children who have left their out-of home placement. A DCF representative testified to explain current procedures to address the reporting of and investigation into the children in DCF custody who are missing. The DCF representative stated the daily updates the Secretary for Children and Families receives could easily be shared with the Governor’s Office without a statutory change. The DCF representative expressed concern regarding the disclosure of confidential information on the missing children in violation of confidentiality laws relating to children’s identities that might place the federal Title IV-E funds related to child welfare at risk. On February 25, 2019, the Committee worked the bill, amending the bill to clarify the required time frame for a contractor to notify DCF of a foster care child who is missing or spent any overnight period in a facility under the control of the contractor and the time frame for DCF to subsequently notify the required parties; remove the requirement to publish such report in the applicable newspaper; and specify the information to be provided in the report.

The Senate Committee of the Whole debated the bill on February 25, 2019, making technical amendments to the bill. The full Senate passed the bill Yea: 40 Nay: 0 on Emergency Final Action that same day, passing the bill over to the House for consideration.

The bill as amended was introduced into the House on February 28, 2019, assigned to the House Committee on Children and Seniors. The Committee scheduled hearings on the bill for Monday, March 18, 2019, at 1:30 PM in Room 346-S.

SB166: Grandparents as Caregivers; deeming children as foster children.

This bill, introduced on February 13, 2019, by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would make changes to the Grandparents as Caregivers Act, including to  reduce the age of grandparents covered by the act from 50 to 40 years of age, and providing that grandparents would be able to obtain parenting skills training at no charge. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings. The bill was scheduled for hearing Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S, but was not worked by Committee before first adjournment, meaning that the bill is dead for the session.

SB214: Child death review board; confidentiality of records

This bill was introduced on February 22, 2019 and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearing. The bill would provide exceptions to confidentiality in the event of a child death while in the care of the state allowing legislators and legislative committees with authority over the Department of Children and Families access to that information in the course of legislative investigations. The bill was scheduled for hearing Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

SB215: Crimes; domestic battery, child endangerment

This bill, introduced on February 25, 2019, would amend child endangerment statutes to include domestic battery in the presence of a child. The bill would also increase the penalties for domestic battery. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings.

SB218: Abuse; requiring duly ordained minister of religion or an employee of or volunteer for a religious organization to report certain abuse and neglect of children.

This bill, introduced into the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee after bill introduction deadline (to protect it for consideration) is a modification of SB37 originally introduced by Sen. Tom Holland (D-Baldwin City). This bill is the result of negotiations between the original proponents and the Catholic Church. The bill would add duly ordained ministers of religion and employees and volunteers for religious organizations as mandatory reporters of child abuse while protecting pastoral privilege in appropriate circumstances. The bill was referred to the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee for hearing. The Committee held hearings on the bill Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 144-S.

 

House:

HB2020: Courts; supreme court nominating commission, attorney licensure.

This bill, prefiled by Rep. Carmichael (D-Wichita), would restore the law to the way it read before 2016 (see 2016 HB128, 3rd CCR) when the legislature passed bills pushed by former Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Among other things, the 2016 law required (1) applicants for admission to practice law to provide the following information required of persons applying to register to vote: (a) name, (b) place of residence, (c) date of birth, (d) sex, and (e) the last four digits of the person’s social security number or the person’s full driver’s license or nondriver’s license identification card number; (2) the names, residential addresses, dates of birth, unique voter identification numbers, and dates of licensure to practice law in Kansas of all persons on such certified rosters would be disclosed upon proper request to the Clerk or to the Secretary of State; (3) changes to the Supreme Court Nominating Commission process for elections; (4) prohibing the nominating commission from having private sessions to discuss private information about judicial applicants.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for review. The bill was scheduled for hearing Monday, January 28, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S.

HB2025: CINC; Including a person who has filed a petition for adoption in the definition of an interested party in the child in need of care code.

This bill, prefiled by Rep. Capps (R-Wichita), would designate as an ‘interested party’ in child in need of care proceedings any person who has filed a petition for adoption of the child in need of care, “except that the court may restrict those rights if the court finds that it would be in the best interests of the child.

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Children and Families for review.

HB2038: Inheritance rights; revoking spousal inheritance rights upon divorce (PASSED HOUSE 114-5)

This bill would define “surviving spouse” for purposes of inheritance to exclude a person who, “Is divorced from the decedent or whose marriage to the decedent has been annulled unless, by virtue of a subsequent marriage, such individual is married to the decedent at the time of death.” The bill makes clear that “A decree of separation that does not terminate the parties’ marital status is not a divorce.” The bill provides that upon divorce (including annulment, but not separation), that event revokes any provision (1) granting a general or non-general power of attorney to the former spouse, (2) nominating the former spouse as a fiduciary, executor, or administrator or other personal representative.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for review and set for a hearing on Thursday, January 24, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S. On January 31, 2019, the Committee passed the bill out of Committee with a  favorable recommendation. On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill be passed without amendment. The bill passed the House on February 7, 2019, passed Yea: 114 Nay: 5 sending it on to the Senate for consideration.

On February 8, 2019, the bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings. The Committee scheduled hearings for Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

HB2039: Recognition of tribal judgments. (PASSED HOUSE 119-0)

This bill would recognize tribal judgments as provided by Kansas Supreme Court rule. The bill directs that any Supreme Court rule “shall only extend recognition to the judgments of tribal courts that grant full faith and credit to judgments of the courts of the state of Kansas.”

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearing to be held on Thursday, January 24, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S. Working the bill on January 30, 2019, the Committee adopted an amendment to the bill made by Rep. Ralph (R-Dodge City) to include in the bill a provision that,  “(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to be a waiver of the sovereign immunity of the state of Kansas or a waiver of the sovereign immunity of a federally recognized Indian tribe.” With that amendment, the Committee recommended that the bill pass the full  House. The House Committee of the Whole considered the bill on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, recommending that the full House adopted the bill as amended by Committee. The House adopted the bill, as amended by Committee, Yea: 119 Nay: 0 on February 7, 2019, sending it on to the Senate for consideration.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 7, 2019, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. The Committee scheduled hearings for Thursday, March 21, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

HB2072: Uniform Arbitration Act; technical amendments

The updated Uniform Arbitration Act (2000) was adopted by the 2018 Session of the Kansas Legislature. However, the legislature inadvertently omitted a provision in previous law that did not allow insurance companies to force policyholders to use arbitration in disputes with them. This bill would restore that provision. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony about the proposal on Monday, February 4, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S. On February 22, 2019, the Committee recommended that the bill pass the full House as introduced.  On February 28, 2019, the bill was stricken from the House Calendar and not referred to an exempt committee, killing the bill.

HB2079: Sexual battery; Removing the spousal exception from sexual battery.

This bill was introduced by Rep. Brett Parker (D-Overland Park) and would simply remove the exemption from the crime of sexual battery that a spouse cannot commit the act. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary for hearings. As reported by the Lawrence Journal-World, Sen. Holland filed the bill on behalf of a constituent who was abused by a pastor as a child.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and set for hearing on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S. On February 14, 2019, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed by the full House. The bill remained on the Calendar at first adjournment without reassignment to an exempt committee, meaning that it is dead for the session.

HB2094: Requiring the department for children and families to offer services to children with problem sexual behavior and to such child’s family.

Introduced into the House Committee on State and Federal Affairs, this bill would require the Kansas Department of Children and Families to provide  counseling and, as needed, additional services to a family of any child against whom a complaint had been made that the child had “problem sexual behavior” to offer counseling and treatment to the child and the child’s family unless the department determines there will be a high risk of future sexual abuse by the child with problem sexual behavior if such child or such child’s family refuses to accept the services.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on State and Federal Affairs, which held a hearing on the bill February 5, 2019, at 9:00 AM in Room 346-S.

HB2103: CINC; to provide requirements for placement of a child in a qualified residential treatment program (PASSED HOUSE 122-1)

Introduced on January 30, 2019, by the House Committee on Children and Seniors, this bill would require that, “Whenever a child is placed in a qualified residential treatment program, the secretary shall notify the court in writing within seven days of placement.” The bill would require the court document: “(1) That the ongoing assessment of the strengths and needs of the child continues to support the determination that the needs of the child cannot be met through placement in a foster family home, that the placement in a qualified residential treatment program provides the most effective and appropriate level of care for the child in the least restrictive environment, and that the placement is consistent with the short-term and long-term goals for the child, as specified in the permanency plan for the child;

“(2) the specific treatment or service needs that will be met for the child in the placement and the length of time the child is expected to need the treatment or services; and

“(3) the efforts made by the secretary to prepare the child to return home or to be placed with a fit and willing relative, a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent, or in a foster family home.”

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Children and Seniors for hearing. A hearing on the bill was held Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at 1:30 PM Room ib 346-S. On February 20, 2019, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed without amendment. The bill was debated by the Committee of the Whole on February 26, 2019, which recommended passage without amendment. On February 27, 2019, the bill was passed by the House Yea: 122 Nay: 1 sending the bill to the Senate for consideration.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 27, 2019, assigned to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. It was scheduled for hearing on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 9:30 AM in Room 118-N, but that hearing was canceled. After being canceled, the bill was again placed on the Committee schedule for the day it had been canceled, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 9:30 AM in Room 118-N.

HB2129: Protection orders; gun safety red flag act.

This bill is a reintroduction of the ‘red flag act’ proposed in the 2018 legislative session. It would provide a way for police and family members to petition the district court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. Introduced by Representatives Ward and Hodge, the bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

The bill was set for hearing in the House Judiciary Committee for Monday, February 18, 2019 at 3:30 PM in 346-S.

HB2164: Adoption Discrimination Act; repeal

This bill would repeal the “Adoption Protection  Act,” enacted by the legislature in 2018, which sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ persons by private adoption agencies. See 2018SB284 discussion on our 2018 Legislative page.

HB2192: Courts; restoring merit selection for Kansas Court of Appeals

This bill, introduced on February 7, 2019, would provide that Kansas Court of Appeals judges are to be reviewed and nominated by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission for merit with three candidates sent to the governor for consideration and appointment. This bill would restore the practice that existed before Sam Brownback and the GOP legislature changed it in 2014 to eliminate merit selection for court of appeals judges, leaving that process to the governor. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings.

HB2196: Child Custody; creating a presumption in favor of equal parenting time for temporary orders.

This bill would require that courts impose upon divorcing families equal parenting time when temporary orders are issued. Introduced by Representatives Pittman (D-Leavenworth), Awerkamp (R-St. Marys), Bergquist (R-Park City), Ellis (R-Meriden), Eplee (R-Atchison), Highland (R-Wamego), Hineman (R-Dighton), and Resman (R-Olathe), this bill is another in a line of proposed bad solutions for problems that don’t exist coming from complaints by individuals arising from their own cases and seeking to impose upon everyone in the system cookie-cutter solutions. Just this past December, the Kansas Judicial Council issued a report that strongly came out against these kinds presumptions in its 2018 Report on HB2529, a bill that would have done essentially the same thing this bill seeks, but with final orders. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearing.

HB2208: Crimes; creating the crime of ‘sexual extortion’

This bill was introduced into the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice on February 8, 2019. The bill would provide another prohibition on “revenge porn,” but for when the threat to expose intimate photographs with the intention of compelling the victim to “(A) Engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse or conduct that is of a sexual nature; or (B) produce, provide or distribute an image, video or other recording of a person in a state of nudity or engaging in conduct that is of a sexual nature.”

The House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice held a hearing Monday, February 18, 2019, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. The House Committee amended the bill to specify a 15- year registration requirement for the crime when one of the parties involved is under 18 years of age, and recommended that the House pass the amended bill. The bill was stricken from the House Calendar when it was not considered before turnaround day, February 28, 2019.

HB2241:Crimes; creating the crime of rape by misrepresentation of identity.

This bill, introduced on February 12, 2019, would amend the Kansas rape statute to assure that a person who committed rape could not use the defense of “consent” because of the mistaken belief by the victim that the perpetrator was a person the victim would have consented to have intimate relations with but for the false representation by the perpetrator that the perpetrator was that other person. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearing.

HB2242: Abuse and Neglect; Joint Investigations of certain reports of abuse

This bill, introduced into the House Judiciary Committee on February 12, 2019, would require the Department of Children and Families to relay any second or subsequent report of abuse or neglect made by a  mandated reporter concerning the same child to an appropriate law enforcement agency within six hours of receiving that report or reports. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings.

HB2258: Housing; protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking

This bill, introduced on February 12, 2019, would provide protections for victims of domestic violence against being evicted from or discriminated against in housing. The House sponsors are Representatives Holscher, Alcala, Barker, Clayton, Ellis, Frownfelter, Henderson, Horn, Kessinger, Lusk, Murnan, Parker, Probst, Resman, L. Ruiz, S. Ruiz, Schreiber, E. Smith, Stogsdill, Toplikar, Whipple, Winn, Woodard, and Xu. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings.

HB2279: Domestic violence; crimes, punishment, criminal procedure, domestic violence calls (PASSED HOUSE 124-0)

Introduced into the House on February 12, 2019, this bill would the written policy manual of all law enforcement agencies in the state of Kansas include a requirement that when an arrest is made by a law enforcement officer responding to a domestic violence call, including an arrest for violation of a protection order, the officer provide the victim with information about the earliest possible time of release from custody of the person being arrested according to the bond schedule adopted in the jurisdiction within which the arrest is being made if such jurisdiction has adopted a bond schedule. The bill would also require that if bond is granted to the arrested person, the bond conditions include a provision that person shall not have contact with the alleged victim for 72-hours after bonding out. Finally, the bill would require that victims be provided with information about available victim services within the jurisdiction of the arresting agency. The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for hearings.

The House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice scheduled hearings for Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. Proponents testified that legislation is needed to provide domestic violence victims notice of a potential amount of time that would expire before the arrested person may be released from jail. Opponent testimony (by the Association of Chiefs of Police, Kansas Peace Officers Association, and Kansas Sheriffs’ Association) was that the organizations were concerned with specific bond schedule and no-contact order notice requirements contained in the bill, as introduced. On February 25, 2019, the House Committee amended the bill to specify notice is to be provided when an arrest is made for a domestic violence offense. The House Committee also adjusted the notice provision related to release from custody and no-contact orders and replaced the notice based upon a bond schedule with notice that an arrested person can be released from custody in a short amount of time. On February 27, 2019, the House Committee of the Whole recommended passage of the bill as amended by Committee. The full House passed the bill Yea: 124 Nay: 0.

The amended bill was introduced into the Senate on February 27, 2019. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which scheduled hearings for Monday, March 18, 2019, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

HB2320: Enacting the marriage and constitution restoration act.

This bill was introduced on the last day legislators could introduce bills as individuals, February 13, 2019. The bill would enact the “marriage and constitution restoration act.” The legislators who introduced this ridiculous bill are Representatives Garber (R-Sabetha), Donohoe (R-Shawnee), French (R-Lansing), Helmer (R-Mulvane), Highland (R-Wamego), Huebert (R-Valley Center), Rahjes (R-Agra), and Rhiley (R-Wellington). The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee where it will never see the light of day.

There are not enough bad things to be said about the bill. It is poorly written; it drones on for pages and pages with “whereas” clauses (a sure sign that the drafter doesn’t know how legislation is written or how proper English is used; it is contradictory within itself, and it seems to have insult as its primary purpose. The bill reads more like a rant against modern society than anything else. It rambles on with vague complaints against “secular humanism,” marriage by same-sex couples, transgender individuals, marriage not based in the sponsors’ narrow view of what the Bible says about marriage and marital relationships. One of the bills describes sexual orientation as a “mythology.”

Thomas Witt, the Executive Director of Equality Kansas, said about the bills, “The two marriage bills introduced today represent the most vile, hateful, and disrespectful legislation I’ve seen in my fourteen years as Equality Kansas’s lobbyist. Every year, we see bills that seek to restrict, remove, and limit the rights of LGBT Kansans, but never have we seen the level of extremist vitriol laid out in legislative language. These bill combines are 18 pages of insults and name-calling. Fred Phelps would be proud. The sponsors of these bills should be ashamed of themselves.”

This bill and its companion, HB2321, quickly garnered national attention, with a Newsweek article being one of them. USAToday and TheHill.com also picked up on Kansas’s embarrassment.

HB2321:Creating the “optional elevated marriage act.”

This bill was introduced on the last day legislators could introduce bills as individuals, February 13, 2019, in tandem with HB2320, which would create the “marriage and constitutional restoration act.” This bill would enact “elevated marriage,” which is presumably better than the apparently degraded marriage everyone has always entered and that religious institutions have always recognized and blessed.” The legislators who introduced this ridiculous bill are Representatives Garber (R-Sabetha), Donohoe (R-Shawnee), French (R-Lansing), Helmer (R-Mulvane), Highland (R-Wamego), Huebert (R-Valley Center), Rahjes (R-Agra), and Rhiley (R-Wellington). The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and will never see the light of day other than to highlight the idiocy of its sponsors.

HB2359: Establishing the child welfare system delivery task force

This bill was introduced on the last day that Committee introduced bills could be introduced by the House Committee on Children and Seniors. The bill would establish a committee (similar to the task force established in 2018 to investigate the child welfare system and recommend legislation and improvements arising out of that investigation. The task force would be tasked with:

“(1) Determining the monetary costs required to adequately fund high- quality state child welfare services;
(2) evaluating the benefits and disadvantages of the privatization of state child welfare services;
(3) determining the best level of collaboration among private and public entities that are responsible for the delivery of state child welfare services; and
(4) submitting reports to the governor and the legislature on a semi-annualbasis, beginning on February 1, 2020, concerning the findings of the task force and any recommended changes of state.”

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Children and Seniors.

HB2376: Authorizing amendments to a registrant’s birth certificate when there is a change in the registrant’s sex.

This bill was introduced by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee on February 19, 2019. It would allow for changes to an applicant’s Kansas birth certificate when there is a change in the registrant’s sex. The bill was assigned to the House Federal and State Affairs Committee for review.

HB2393: Support Debt; setoff against debtors, support debt matched by gaming facilities.

This bill, introduced on March 12, 2019, would provide for the definition of “support debt” and “support debtor,” and would provide for the collection of that support debt from any amounts of money to be paid to a support debtor by any gaming facility, lottery, race track or other similar facility.

HB2394: Child Abuse; changing penalties

This bill, introduced on March 12, 2019, would change the definition of criminal ‘abuse of a child’ to more objective and less hyperbolic terms. The present statute criminalizes “torturing or cruelly beating” a child and “inflicting cruel and inhuman pain and suffering on a child.” This bill would change that definition to instead define the term as “knowingly causing physical contact with any child less than 18 years of age that results in or could reasonably be expected to result in physical injury to the child; or recklessly causing bodily harm to any child less than 18 years of age.” The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings. The bill was set for hearings Monday, March 18, 2019, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S.