Kansas Legislature – 2023

The 2023 Kansas Legislature convened on Monday, January 9, 2023. With the 2020 Decennial Census complete and litigation over the 2022 Legislature’s gerrymandered districts finalized, some districts in Western Kansas were consolidated and some cities and counties (notably Johnson County) gained representatives that rural areas lost. But notwithstanding the loss of rural representatives, pundits anticipated that the 2023-2024 legislative session would be more tilted towards rural interests and less to urban interests because the shifting representative districts went to Democratic candidates rather than Republicans – meaning that the increased urban representation is of the minority party rather than the majority party. And as in past years, the pundits anticipated the right-wing House and Senate leadership would be more partisan and less concerned about populations that did not vote for their party representatives. This, as well as a move to strike out at vulnerable populations, was borne out by some of the pre-filed bills, including one seeking to criminalize gender-conforming treatments by medical professionals (2023SB12). The session itself was filled with hateful legislation towards minorities of all types, with special emphasis against gender-affirming attitudes, treatments, and education. The culture war drumbeat was especially strong in the Kansas Senate, where reactionary senators were put in charge of major committees.

The Kansas legislative session generally runs for 90 days, from early January until approximately mid-April. With coronavirus a constant threat, largely ignored by the majority party, it was expected that the 2023 legislative session will return to regular pre-pandemic proceedings–which it did. 

Bills introduced in the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions are dead, and any bills to be considered must be introduced anew. Any bills introduced in 2023 that are not enacted will carry over to the 2024 session.

For the 2023 Session of the Kansas Legislature, individual requests for bill introductions had to be submitted before February 8, 2023; with committee introductions on or before February 10, 2023. All bills must pass the house-of-origin on or before February 23, 2023 (with some exceptions) or they die for the session. Second house turn-around is scheduled for March 29, 2023 (unless by exempt committee). No bills can be considered after April 6, 2023, except for bills vetoed by the Governor, Omnibus Appropriations bills, and Omnibus Reconciliation Spending Limit bills unless there is a vote to suspend those deadlines. The House and Senate returned for a veto session on or about April 26, 2023. The Kansas Legislature declared sine die — formal adjournment until next January 8, 2024 — on April 28, 2023, after four contentious months of what can only with extreme generosity be called “lawmaking,” and is more appropriately called an attack on the sensibilities of Kansans with an unbridled desire instead to carry on an extreme culture war than no one except the radial right wing of the Republican party wanted or desired. No veto session was held since the Legislature adjourned sine die on the last day of the regular session without returning for a veto session.

Senate:

HSubSB73: Crimes; burglary, protection from abuse, battery (PASSED SENATE 38-0) Children and minors; CINC, Juvenile Justice, risk and needs assessment for certain children in need of care; allowing for overall case length limit extensions for certain juvenile offenders; requiring the department of corrections to create juvenile justice data systems; increasing use of evidence-based programs account money; authorizing detention sanctions for probation violations (Substitute PASSED HOUSE 90-34) (CONFERENCE)

This bill was introduced on January 23, 2023 through the Senate Judiciary Committee. It proposes to add the crimes of domestic battery and violation of a protection order to the crimes that a person can have the intent to commit when committing burglary or aggravated burglary.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On February 8, 2023, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed without amendment. The Senate Committee of the Whole recommended the bill be passed without amendment on February 14, 2023. The Senate passed the bill Yea: 38 Nay: 0 on February 15, 2023.

The bill was received by the House on February 16, 2023, and assigned to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for consideration. The bill was set for hearing with the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 546-S. On March 27, 2023, the House Committee recommended that a Substitute Bill be passed, gutting the previous bill’s text and substituting the language from another bill. The House Committee placed the contents of SB73 as introduced into SB174, as amended by the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. The Substitute included multiple changes to different areas involving children, including CINC, juvenile justice, and others. Section 1 of the Substitute would require a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be entered into by the Secretary of Corrections and the Secretary for Children and Families by October 1, 2023, to coordinate administering a risk and needs assessment to children identified as exhibiting behavior that could lead to offending behaviors during the course of a child in need of care (CINC) proceeding. Sections 2 and 3 would amend the Revised CINC Code and the Juvenile Code to require that if a child, juvenile, or juvenile offender is eligible for services from the Department for Children and Families (DCF), the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), or the Judicial Branch, these agencies would need to collaborate to provide such services. The Substitute states that nothing in the CINC Code provision or in the Juvenile Code would preclude the eligible child from accessing services by the listed agencies or any other state agency if the child is otherwise eligible for services. On March 28, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended the full House approve the Substitute. On March 29, 2023, the full House approved the Substitute Yea: 90 Nay: 34 on a party-line vote.

On April 3, 2023, the Senate non-concurred in the House Substitute, and voted to appoint a conference committee. The House followed suit that same day. The Conference did not submit its report before the end of the session, so the bill was held over in-committee for the 2024 Legislative Session.

SB95: Crimes; statutes of limitation, sexual assault

This bill was introduced through the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs by Sen. Cindy Holsher (D-Overland Park) on January 25, 2023. It was also introduced in the House by Rep. Jeff Underhill (R-Junction City). The bills would remove the statute of limitations for all crimes associated with childhood sexual abuse. In a press conference covered by the Shawnee Mission Post, Sen. Holsher and Rep. Underhill together with representatives of sexual abuse and clergy abuse survivors groups stated that as things now stand, the limit varies depending on the specific type of crime. And, since most people abused as children won’t talk openly about it until they are over 50, the bills would make it possible for the prosecution of crimes as far back as 1984. A similar bill died last year in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Holscher said she has higher hopes for it this time around because of a recent Kansas Bureau of Investigation report into sexual abuse in Kansas’ four Catholic dioceses as well as a breakaway sect. The KBI report, which took four years and covers incidents as far back as 1950 and was not revealed by outgoing Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt until after he lost his bid to defeat Gov. Laura Kelly in the November 2022 election, found 188 clergy suspected of acts that include rape, sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

SB115: Adoptions; Changing the lists of persons required to be given notice of the hearing on a petition for an independent or stepparent, private agency, or public agency adoption. (PASSED SENATE 39-0)(AMENDED PASSED HOUSE 120-3)(CONFERENCE)

This bill was introduced on January 27, 2023, through the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would amend existing law to require notice of a hearing on a petition for adoption in the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act for certain adoptions as follows:

The bill would require notice in an independent and stepparent adoption to be given to:

  • The parents, presumed parents, or possible parents;
  • Any person who has physical custody of the child; and
  • Any legal guardian of the child.

The bill would require notice in an independent and stepparent adoption to be given to:

  • The parents, the presumed parents, or possible parents;
  • The consenting agency;
  • Any relinquishing person;
  • Any person who has physical custody of the child; and
  • Any legal guardian of the child.

The bill would require notice in a public agency adoption to be given only to the consenting agency.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing by the Committee for Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On February 15, 2023, the Judiciary Committee recommended the bill be passed as introduced. The Senate Committee of the Whole adopted the Committee report on February 21, 2023. On February 22, 2023, the Senate passed the bill Yea: 39 Nay: 0.

The bill was introduced into the House on February 22, 2022, and assigned to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care on February 22, 2022. The bill was set for hearing by the Committee for Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. On March 21, 2023, the House Committee recommended that the bill be passed with an amendment to make the bill effective upon publication in the Kansas Register. On March 27, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill as amended by House Committee be passed. The full House considered and passed the amended bill on March 27, 2023 Yea: 120 Nay: 3. On March 27 and 28, 2023, the House and Senate voted to appoint a conference committee to work out the differences in the two chambers’ bills.

SB243: Settlement Agreements; requirements and procedures for a person having legal custody of a minor to enter into a settlement agreement on behalf of the minor (PASSED SENATE 39-0)(AMENDED PASSED 123-0)(CONFERENCE)(SENATE ACCEDED 38-0)(GOVERNOR SIGNED)(EFF. JULY 1, 2023)

This bill was introduced through the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 10, 2023. It would establish requirements and procedures for the approval of any settlement agreement arrived at as a result of an incident causing injury to a child. It would apply to situations where no court-appointed conservator or guardian has been established and would allow for the payment of the damages involved in the settlement to the legal custodian of the injured child.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The Committee set a hearing on the bill for February 21, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. That same day, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed with amendments to:

  • Increase the cap on moneys that may be owned in minor accounts in the Kansas Uniform Transfers to Minor Act and the Act for Obtaining a Guardian or a Conservator, or Both;
  • Clarify what happens to accounts when a minor or account holder dies;
  • Add financial institutions to the list of entities who would be released from liability when acting in good faith with the bill’s provisions; and
  • Add a provision specifying nothing in the bill would prevent judicial intervention with respect to minor agreements.

On February 23, 2023, the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended passage of the amended bill. On emergency final action that same day, the Senate passed the bill as amended  Yea: 39 Nay: 0.

The bill was introduced into the House on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing by the Committee for Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at 3:30 PM in Room 582-N. On March 14, 2023, the House Committee adopted an amendment to increase maximum dollar amounts in three additional sections of law related to moneys paid to minors and recommended that the amended bill be passed by the full House. On March 27, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole voted to advance the amended bill. On March 27, 2023, the full House voted to pass the amended bill Yea: 123 Nay: 0. The House and Senate voted to appoint Conference Committee members on March 28 and 29, 2023.

SB317: Crimes; statutes of limitation, sexual assault

This bill was introduced through the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs by Sen. Cindy Holscher (D-Overland Park) on March 16, 2023. As described by Sen. Holscher in the Topeka Capital Journal, the bill is a compromise with Senate leadership over provisions in SB95 which was introduced earlier in the session. “This bill is basically negotiated language through many parties working together over the past several weeks to come to a consensus and a way to move forward,” Holscher said. While it is late in the session, “the expectation is that we do get this addressed and get this handled this year.” The initial plan in Senate Bill 95 called for allowing civil claims and criminal charges largely unlimited by how much time has passed. The new plan removes limitations for criminal cases of sexual violence against children, expands the current age limit for civil cases from when the victim turns 21 to 31, and adds a three-year look-back window for civil cases if there is a criminal conviction.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

House:

HB2017: Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (PASSED HOUSE 122-0)

This bill, introduced by the House Judiciary Committee on January 11, 2023, would enact the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA). If enacted, Kansas would be the fifth state to adopt the UFLAA (North Dakota, Arizona, Hawaii, and Montana being the other states that have adopted the Act) since it was proposed in 2016. The UFLAA was previously introduced in the 2020 legislative session as 2020HB2533, and again in the 2022 legislative session as 2022HB2496. In 2020, the bill died when it was stricken from the House Calendar after being passed out of the House Judiciary Committee favorably, because of adjournment of the Covid-19 shortened 2020 session. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill in the 2022 session, with the full House passing the bill 121-0.In 2022, the bill died when it was not taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The uniform 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 are familiar to arbitrators and practitioners in the dispute resolution field because the UFLAA is based in part on the Uniform Arbitration Act (1955) and Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (2000) (which was adopted by the Kansas Legislature in 2017). The UFLAA’s provisions for arbitrator disclosure, award, appeals, and arbitrator immunity, among others, are drawn substantially from these earlier uniform acts. Since family law disputes are different from traditional commercial disputes, however, the UFLAA contains some key provisions that do not appear in the Uniform Arbitration Act or Revised Uniform Arbitration Act. The Reporter for the UFLAA was Washburn Law School Professor Linda Elrod.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings. The bill was set for hearing before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 3:30 PM in Room 582-N. On January 26, 2023, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed by the House as introduced. On January 31, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended the bill be passed without amendment. On February 1, 2023, the House passed the bill without amendment Yea: 122 Nay: 0, sending it to the Senate for Consideration.

The bill was received and introduced into the Kansas Senate on February 1, 2023, and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration on February 2, 2023. The Senate Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Friday, March 24, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

HB2021: CINC; Needs assessment, funding, and consideration. (PASSED HOUSE 85-35)(AMENDED PASSED SENATE 40-0)(CONFERENCE)(CCR FAILED SENATE 17-18)

This bill was introduced on January 11, 2022, by the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. It provides directives that Kansas DCF enter into an MOU to coordinate administering a risk needs assessment to children who have been identified as exhibiting behavior that could lead to offending behavior during the course of a CINC proceeding, and that state agencies coordinate to provide those needed services.

The bill was assigned back to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for consideration. The bill was scheduled for hearing on Monday, January 30, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 546-S. Proponents from the Children’s Alliance of Kansas, Kansas Association of Court Services Officers, Kansas Community Corrections Association, KVC Kansas, Saint Francis Ministries, a Sedgwick County commissioner, and a private citizen testified as proponents of the bill, generally stating that the bill would foster greater communication between agencies and maximize resources for juveniles and their families.

Opponent testimony was provided by Kansas Appleseed and four private citizens. The opponents generally stated that studies have proven more detention for juveniles is detrimental to their future, and many juveniles get held in contempt of court for angering the adults involved in the court system. Written-only opponent testimony was provided by representatives of ACLU–Kansas, Destination Innovation, Inc., Justice Action Network, Juvenile Law Center, Kansas Advisory Group Executive Committee, and The Gault Center.

On February 9, 2023, the House Committee recommended that the bill be passed with amendments. The House Committee amended the bill to remove technical violations from when a judge could commit a juvenile to detention for a probation violation. Additionally, the Committee amended the bill to allow KDOC to contract with an entity for the electronic record system, and the system would include a verification system operated by KDOC to verify the authenticity and validity of electronic records. The House Committee of the Whole recommended passage of the amended bill on February 15, 2023. The House passed the amended bill on February 16, 2023 with a vote of Yea: 85 Nay: 35.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 17, 2023 and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing by the Senate Committee for Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S, when proponent testimony was presented. On March 9, 2023, the Senate Committee continued its hearing on the bill. Opponent testimony was presented by a retired district court judge, a private citizen, and representatives of Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Progeny Kansas. The opponents stated there is no evidence that the proposals in the bill are needed.
Written-only opponent testimony was provided by representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee, Juvenile Law Center, Kansas Advisory Group, and Progeny & Destination Innovation, and The Gault Center. On Monday, March 27, 2023, the Senate Committee amended the bill to:
● Remove a new section of law requiring the Secretary of Corrections and Secretary for Children and Families to enter into memorandums of understanding to coordinate certain risk and needs assessments;
● Revert sections of law in the Juvenile Code concerning sentencing alternatives, overall case length limits, and community-based graduated responses for technical violations of probation, conditional release, and conditions of sentence to current law;
● Revert a section of law concerning KDOC’s authority to exchange confidential data in the juvenile justice system to current law;
● Remove language referencing risk and needs assessments that would no longer be required by the bill;
5- 2021
● Expand the list of providers that may administer evidence-based community programs and practices;
● Clarify available funding in the Account to develop and implement a statewide grant program by the Secretary of Corrections would be determined after other expenditures for evidence-based programs are made; and
● Add a provision stating child welfare case management providers would not be eligible to receive grants through the Account.

On March 28, 2023, the Senate Committee of the Whole passed over the bill but retained it on the Calendar. On March 29, 2023, the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended passing the amended bill. The full Senate voted on Emergency Final Action to pass the amended bill Yea: 40 Nay: 0.

On April 3, 2023, the House nonconcurred with the Senate amendments and voted to appoint a conference committee. The Senate acceded in the request on April 4, 2023. On April 6, 2023, the Conference Committee agreed to HB 2021, as passed by the House, with the following modifications:

  • Adjust the requirements of the Secretary for Children and Families and Secretary of Corrections to coordinate actions with respect to children exhibiting criminogenic behaviors;
  • Insert a provision prohibiting the result of a risk and needs assessment conducted on a child exhibiting criminogenic behaviors to be used as evidence in a proceeding under the Juvenile Code;
  • Insert a provision requiring the Secretary for Children and Families to report on risk and needs assessments conducted on children exhibiting criminogenic behaviors;
  • Insert provisions concerning the duties of the Secretary of Corrections when a juvenile is placed in detention, including duties related to collaborating with certain entities to provide services and report related findings to JCCJJO;
  • Remove provisions extending the overall maximum cumulative detention cap a court can assign a juvenile;
  • Amend a provision allowing a court to extend the overall case length limit if the delay is due to a juvenile’s repeated, intentional effort to delay completion of such program;
  • Insert a provision that when a juvenile has violated probation, conditional release, or a condition of a sentence, the court services officer or community correctional services officer would immediately notify the court in writing;
  • Amend a provision that a judge may commit a juvenile to detention for violation of such probation if the judge makes a finding the juvenile is demonstrating escalating use of physical violence, aggression, weapons, damage to property, or life- threatening substance;
  • Expand the list of providers that may administer evidence-based community programs and practices; and
  • Add “promising practices” to the list of allowable expenditures of moneys from the Account.

The Conference Committee also agreed to insert the provisions of HB2033, as passed by the House, concerning the criteria used to refer and admit juveniles to a juvenile crisis intervention center. When the Conference Committee Report was presented to the Senate, it voted against the bill Yea: 17 Nay: 18.

HB2024: Child protection; legal surrender of an infant to include infant refuge bassinets (PASSED HOUSE 94-30)(AMENDED PASSED SENATE 35-5)(CONFERENCE)(CCR PASSED HOUSE)(CCR PASSED SENATE)(GOVERNOR SIGNED)(EFF. STATE REGISTER)

This bill was introduced on January 12, 2022, by the Joint Committee on Child Welfare System Oversight. It would expand the authorization for the legal surrender of an infant, and include minimum criteria for those bassinet receptacles.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration. The bill was scheduled for hearing by the Committee on Monday, January 23, 2023, 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. On February 1, 2023, the House Committee recommended the bill be passed with the following amendments:

The House Committee adopted amendments to:

  • Change terminology referencing “infant refuge bassinet” to “newborn safety device” throughout the bill;
  • Modify the definition of “newborn safety device” to:
    • Clarify installation of such devices would bevoluntary;
    • Add a requirement that such devices be located on a structural wall in an authorized facility; and
    • Add an alternative to the 24-hour staffing requirement by requiring a dual alarm system capable of dispatching first responders should all employees be unavailable when an infant is placed in a device;
  • Require a non-relinquishing parent submit to genetic testing to verify biological parentage of a child surrendered pursuant to the Act when seeking to establish parental rights in a termination of parental rights proceeding;
  • Add language stating the Act shall not abridge the rights and obligations created by ICWA; and
  • Require an employee taking custody of an infant surrendered pursuant to the Act to ask the relinquishing parent to provide certain information regarding tribal member status, require facilities maintaining a newborn safety device to provide the means for the relinquishing parent to provide such information, and require an employee of the facility taking custody of an infant to provide any such information received to the Secretary for Children and Families.

On February 9, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole rereferred the bill back to the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care on motion by Sen. Concannon (D-Manhattan). On February 17, 2023, the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care re-recommended the bill for passage by the House with further amendments. The additional amendments would:

●  Modify the criteria required of relinquishing persons to legally surrender an infant pursuant to the Act and to be immune from civil or criminal penalty;

●  Add a requirement that a determination by a medical professional be made to ensure great bodily harm to an infant does not exist;

●  Add a requirement that law enforcement report a surrender under the bill to the Secretary;

● Reconcile language in the criminal child abandonment statute;

●  Add a requirement that authorized facilities provide certain information to relinquishing parents; and

●  Add a prohibition against publicly disclosing information related to an infant surrender pursuant to the Act.

On February 22, 2023, the House passed the bill as amended Yea: 94 Nay: 30.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 22, 2023 and assigned to Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare on March 1, 2023. The bill was set for hearing on Monday, March 13, 2023, at 8:30 AM in Room 142-S. That same day, the Senate Committee worked the bill and amended it to change its effective date to publication in the Kansas Register. On March 29, 2023, the Senate Committee of the Whole voted to advance the amended bill to the full Senate. On Emergency Final Action that same day, the Senate passed the bill Yea: 35 Nay: 5.

On April 3, 2023, the House non-concurred with the Senate amendments and voted to appoint a conferrence committee. The Senate acceded to the request. The Conference Committee issued its report on April 6, 2023 (the last day before First Adjournment). The Conference Committee agreed to the contents of HB2024, as passed by the Senate with the provisions effective upon publication in the Kansas Register. It also added to the bill the contents of HB2034 (Requiring the referral of a victim of child abuse or neglect for an examination as part of an investigation) and HB2194 (Authorizing the children’s cabinet to form a 501(c)(3) for fundraising for the Dolly Parton imagination library book gifting program). On the night of April 6, 2023, the Senate approved the Conference Committee recommendations Yea: 36 Nay: 1. The House followed the Senate’s approval voting Yea: 116 Nay: 0.

HB2029: Protection Orders; PFA, PFS; extension of time of protection order and extensions

This bill was introduced on January 12, 2023, through the House Judiciary Committee. It would expand the initial time period for protection orders from one to a minimum of 2-5 years. It would also provide than any extension of the protection order near the end of the original protection order would also be for that same time period, instead of only one additional year.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing before the House Judiciary Committee for Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 3:30 PM in Room 582-N. On February 9, 2023, the House Committee adopted an amendment to lower the floor of all relevant time periods amended by the bill from two years to one year. on February 23, 2023, the bill was striken from the Calendar for not passing the House before turn-around.

HB2033: Juvenile Crisis Intervention; changing criteria for admission (PASSED HOUSE 123-0)(CCR MERGED INTO HB2021)

This bill was introduced on January 17, 2023 through the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. It would expand the criteria for admission to Juvenile crisis centers to include substance abuse and would change the reference in the statutes from “mental health” to include behavioral health, defined as “behavioral and conduct issues that impact the safety or health of a child, members of the child’s household or family or members of the community, including, but not limited to, non-life threatening mental health and substance abuse concerns.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for consideration. The bill was set for hearing in the House committee on Monday, January 23, 2023, 1:30 PM in Room 546-S. At that hearing, representatives of Johnson County Mental Health Center and Children’s Alliance of Kansas provided proponent testimony stating the bill would allow for more interventions for youth in crisis and close a gap between youth exhibiting “severe behaviors” and receiving services. On January 30, 2023, the Committee passed out the bill without amendment for consideration by the full House. On February 7, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended the bill be passed as recommended.

The House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill be passed on February 7, 2023. On February 8, 2023, the House passed the bill without amendment Yea: 123 Nay: 0.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 9, 2023. It was assigned to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing with the Committee for Monday, March 6, 2023, at 8:30 AM Room in 142-S. On March 16, 2023, the Senate Committee amended the bill to correct the alphabetical order of definitions and recommended that the bill pass as amended.

HB2034: Child abuse; investigations and referrals (PASSED HOUSE 121-1)(Merged into HB2024 by CCR)

This bill was introduced on January 17, 2023 through the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care. It would require a referral of a victim of alleged child abuse or neglect for an examination as part of an investigation, creating a program in the department of health and environment to provide training and payment for such examinations.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration. It was set for hearing before the committee on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. On February 7, 2023, the Committee recommended the bill be passed without amendment by the House. The House Committee of the Whole considered the bill on February 22, 20223. On motion by Rep. Concannon, the House Committee of the Whole amended the bill to require the Secretary for Children and Families or a law enforcement agency to require a CARE referral for a child five years of age or younger upon any investigation by law enforcement of physical abuse or physical neglect. The bill as amended by the House Committee of the Whole passed on February 23, 2023 Yea: 121 Nay: 1.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 23, 2023 and was assigned to Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare. The bill was scheduled for a hearing by the Committee on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at 8:30 AM in Room 142-S. On March 14, 2023, the Senate Committee amended the bill to set the payment rate for the CARE exam not to exceed $750. The Senate Committee also amended the bill to ban a provider found to have submitted fraudulent charges from the CARE network, require the Secretary of Health and Environment to report such incidents to the provider’s licensing board, and require such licensing board to investigate whether unprofessional conduct occurred.

HB2046: Marriage, 18-year-old age requirement, removing exceptions.

This bill was introduced on January 17, 2023, by Rep. Stephanie Clayton (D-Johnson County) through the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. It would change Kansas law to mandate that a person must be at least 18-years of age in order to get married, and it would also eliminate exceptions currently recognized by Kansas law (parental consent). Rep. Clayton filed the same bill in 2021 (2021HB2422). That bill was heard by the House Federal & State Affairs Committee without opposition and with tens of presenters speaking in favor. Because the bill was introduced close to the end of the 2021 Session, however, the Committee did not advance it. Similar proposals have been pushed for decades throughout the world by various organizations (including the International Academy of Family Lawyers) and other advocates to stop children from being abused and enslaved by their families. In an article about the previous bill from 2021, the Kansas City Star noted that Clayton’s bill is the first attempt to change the minimum age for marriage in Kansas in recent years. Until 2006, the state allowed children of any age to marry with parental permission. That year, the Kansas Legislature finally limited the state’s practice of allowing common-law marriages only to those persons who were aged 18 or greater.

The bill was assigned to the House Federal and State Affairs Committee for hearings.

HB2065: Name change, divorce; allowing change of name to other than a former name (PASSED HOUSE 118-0)(PASSED SENATE AMENDED 36-2)(CONFERENCE)(CCR PASSED HOUSE)(CCR PASSED SENATE)(GOVERNOR SIGNED)(EFF. JULY 1, 2021)

This bill was introduced on January 18, 2023 by Representatives Highberger and Neelly. It is a re-introduction of a bill considered in the 2021 Legislative Session as 2021HB2098, which the House Judiciary Committee recommended for passage in 2021, but which was stricken from the Calendar when it wasn’t considered by before 2021 adjournment, and in the 2022 Legislative Session as 2022HB2474, which also was passed out of committee dying on the House floor for inaction. It would allow a court to change a person’s name to a name that is different from his or her maiden or former name during a divorce proceeding.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing in the House Judiciary Committee for Monday, January 30, 2023, at 3:30 pm in Room 582-N. On February 6, 2023, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed with an amendment to remove all references in statute to the spouse’s “maiden” name. On February 8, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill as amended by Committee be passed. On February 9, 2023, the House passed the bill Yea: 118 Nay: 0.

The bill was introduced in the Senate on February 9, 2023, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The Senate Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On March 14, 2023, the Senate Committee amended the bill to make it effective upon publication in the Kansas Register. The Senate Committee of the Whole recommended passage of the amended bill on March 21, 2023. The full Senate approved the amended bill Yea: 36 Nay: 2 on March 22, 2023. The House and Senate voted to appoint a Conference Committee to work out the differences on March 27 and 28, 2023. The Conference Committee agreed to the version of the bill as passed by the House, reverting the effective date to upon publication in the statute book–July 1, 2023. On April 5, 2023, the Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report and passed the bill Yea: 39 Nay: 1. That same day, the House also adopted the Conference Committee Report and passed the bill Yea: 123 Nay: 0, sending the bill to the Governor.

HB2076: Repealing the “Adoption Protection Act.”

This bill was introduced on January 18, 2023 by Johnson County Representatives Heather Meyer, Susan Ruiz, and Brandon Woodard to repeal the “Adoption Protection Act” (more appropriately referred to as the “Bigotry in Adoptions Act,” which was passed by the 2018 Kansas Legislature (as 2018HB284) when the provisions were inserted into another bill that needed to be passed, and signed into law. As passed, the “Adoption Protection Act” states, notwithstanding any other provision of state law and to the extent allowed by federal law, no child placement agency (CPA) is required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or otherwise participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement of such child violates such CPA’s bigoted and discriminatory views for which the sponsors of the CPA claim as part of their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The bill was referred to committee for consideration.

HB2028: Crimes; intimate partner crimes

This bill was introduced on January 23, 2023, through the committee. It would create definitions for the terms “intimate partner” and “intimate partner violence” in the Kansas criminal code and would require certain considerations be made in determining bond when a crime is committed against an intimate partner.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

SSubHB2127: Probate Code; adjusting time requirements, notice by publication and mailing, hearing dates, public auctions. (PASSED HOUSE 121-1)Crimes; statutes of limitation, sexual assault(Substitute PASSED SENATE)(HOUSE CONCURRED 120-0)(GOVERNOR SIGNED)(EFF. JULY 1, 2023)

This bill was introduced on January 23, 2023, through the House Judiciary Committee. As introduced, it would amend the Kansas Probate Code’s provisions concerning notice of probate hearings and sales of probate real estate, removing the requirement that first publication of notice be made within ten days after the court order setting the time and place of the hearing. It would also amend the time requirements for the hearing date to be at least ten days after the date of the last publication of notice of the hearing.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings. A hearing was scheduled with the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at 3:30 PM in Room 582-N. On February 13, 2023, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that the bill pass as introduced. On February 22, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended the bill be passed. The full House passed the bill on February 23, 2023, Yea: 121 Nay: 1.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on March 1, 2023, and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled hearings on the bill for Monday, March 13, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. On March 27, 2023, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended that a Substitute bill be passed — SSubHB2127. The Senate substitute bill contained modified contents of SB317 (permitting the prosecution of childhood sexual abuse at any time). The Senate Committee amended the provisions of SB317 to: (1) Clarify that a civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse could include damages for an injury or illness related to such abuse; (2) Reinsert a definition of “injury or illness” in the section governing limitations on civil actions; and (3) Modify the list of crimes specified in the section governing limitations on civil actions to mirror those crimes specified in the section governing criminal prosecutions. On March 29, 2023, the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended passage by the full Senate. That same day, the full Senate passed the Substitute bill on Emergency Final Action Yea: 40 Nay: 0.

The bill as the Senate Substitute returned to the House on April 3, 2023, where the full House concurred with the Senate amendments Yea: 120 Nay: 0.

HB2141: Cooperation with Child Support Enforcement authorities; strengthening and extending provision. (PASSED HOUSE 76-46)(DID NOT PASS SENATE 20-20)

This bill was introduced on January 23, 2023. It would require those custodial and non-custodial parents to cooperate with child support enforcement programs and if they do not it would provide they are disqualified from receiving payments from the state for certain programs as a result of their refusal or by being delinquent in payments.

The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing with the Committee on Thursday, February 9, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. The hearing was canceled, but then reinstated. On February 20, 2023, the Committee recommended that the bill be passed with amendments modifying the frequency with which “custodial and non-custodial parents” would be reviewed for compliance with child support; and add conditions in which failure to comply with child support would not result in disqualification. The House Committee of the Whole recommended the bill be passed as amended by the House Committee on February 22, 2023, after a motion to re-refer the bill back to committee failed. On February 23, 2023, the bill passed the House  Yea: 76 Nay: 46.

The bill was introduced into the Senate and assigned to the Senate Commitee on Public Health and Welfare on March 2, 2023. The bill was scheduled for hearing before the Senate Committee on Friday, March 24, 2023, at 8:30 AM in Room 142-S. At the hearing, opponents of the bill testified that the bill would make it more difficult for already-struggling parents to put food on the table and make them less capable of financially supporting their children. On March 24, 2023, the Senate Committee recommended that the bill be amended by changing the bill title. On March 28, 2023, the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended passage of the amended bill. The full Senate voted not to approve the bill on March 29, 2023 in a tie vote Yea: 20 Nay: 20.

HB2177: Marriage; striking unconstitutional statutory provisions that require marriage to be between two parties of the opposite sex.

This bill was introduced on January 25, 2023 by Representatives Woodard, Meyer and S. Ruiz (Johnson County) to strike unconstitutional provisions in Kansas law that prohibit people to marry other adults who they desire to marry. It is the same as a bill that was introduced in the 2022 Legislative session, which was not set for hearings.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

HB2179: Cooperation with Child Support authorities; removing provision.

This bill was introduced on January 25, 2023 through the House Committee on Appropriations. It is the offset of HB2141, which would penalize parents more harshly than Kansas law now provides.

The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing with the Committee on Thursday, February 9, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S at the same time as HB2141. The hearing was canceled. On March 9, 2023, the bill was rescheduled for hearing on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at 1:30 PM Room in 152-S.

HB2185: Protection Orders filings; authorizing “short form” notice to defendants

This bill was introduced through the House Judiciary Committee by the Kansas Judicial Council after study and recommendation by the Family Law Advisory Committee. It would allow for a short-form, expedited manner of service and notification of the filing of a protection order action upon a defendant by police agencies during a police encounter with a person against whom a protection order action is filed. The FLAC studied ways to allow for service and notification of defendants in protection orders actions because of continuing problems with serving those defendants even when police agencies interacted with them because of the statutory requirement that protection order actions must be served by the only sheriff and only with in-person service.

If personal service cannot be made on an individual, service would be effected by leaving a copy of the summons and petition or other document at the individual’s dwelling or usual place of abode and mailing to the individual by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a notice that the copy has been left at the individual’s dwelling or usual place of abode. If a court determines that after diligent effort the plaintiff has been unable to serve the defendant, the court may order that notice may be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice, including electronic means and may be by publication if other means are not effective.

The bill would remove provisions from the protection from abuse act relating to when protection orders may or may not be modified and would instead prohibit protection orders from being modified by a subsequent ex parte or temporary order issued in any action, except for certain provisions outlined in the bill.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. A hearing on the bill was set for Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 3:30 PM in Room 582-N. Proponent testimony was presented by Washburn Law School Professor Gillian Chadwick on behalf of the Kansas Judicial Council, by representatives from the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, and a representative of the (Kansas City) Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assualt (MOCSA). Opponent testimony was presented by a representative of the Kansas Sheriff’s Association, indicating that some of the bill’s language is “problematic and some language should be changed.”

HB2189: Foster Care; authorizing extended jurisdiction for the care of children by DCF

This bill was introduced on January 26, 2023 through the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care. It would grant jurisdiction to the court to extend or re-enter custody of non-minor dependents to the secretary for children and families. It is a re-filing of the same bill from previous sessions.

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration. The bill was set for hearing before the Committee on Monday, February 13, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S.

HB2194: Foster Care; Bill of Rights, enacting the “Representative Gail Finney memorial foster care bill of rights”

This bill was introduced on January 26, 2023, through the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care in honor and remembrance of Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita), who passed away on August 20, 2022 at 63 years of age after twelve years serving as a member of the Kansas House. During her tenure, Rep. Finney had focused on correcting problems she saw in the Foster Care system, and repeatedly filed bills in past sessions of the Kansas House to establish a Foster Care Bill of Rights (e.g. 2022HB2468). As with the bills previously introduced by Rep. Finney, this bill would provide various rights for a foster child to ensure proper care and protection of a child in need of care in the child welfare system unless otherwise ordered by the court.

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration. The bill was set for hearing Monday, January 30, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. On February 7, 2023, the Committee recommended that the full House pass the bill without amendment. On February 22, 2023, the bill was withdrawn from the Calendar and referred to the Appropriations Committee to save it for consideration after turnaround. On March 1, 2023, the bill was withdrawn from Committee on Appropriations and re-referred to Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care. On March 15, the House Committee amended the bill to:

  • Specify that Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies over the Bill of Rights when an Indian child is involved in a CINC case;
  • Add a right provided to foster youth concerning retaliation;
  • Clarify a right provided to foster parents and kinship caregivers concerning discrimination;
  • Specify notification requirements of the Secretary and case management providers;
  • Add a definition of “kinship caregiver” to the Code; and
  • Add references to kinship caregivers throughout the bill.

HB2280: Child support; requiring a person convicted of driving under the influence to pay child support for any child of a person killed during the offense giving rise to such conviction

This bill was introduced on February 2, 2023, through the Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. It would require that any person convicted of driving under the influence in an incident that resulted in the deaht of a person pay child support to the other parent or guardian of any child of a person killed during that offense.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bill was set for hearing Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 546-S.

HB2299: Foster care; directing the secretary for children and families to consider foster parents as prospective adoptive parents in certain circumstances.

This bill was introduced through the House Child Welfare and Foster Care Committee on February 6, 2023. It would direct that foster parents shall be considered as adoptive parents if (1) the child has lived more than half of the child’s lifetime with the foster parent; or (2) the child has lived more than two years with the foster parent; or (3) the secretary otherwise determines it is in the best interests of the child. The bill was assigned to the House Child Welfare and Foster Care Committee for consideration. The bill was scheduled for hearing by the Committee on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. In the House Committee hearing on February 8, 2023, representatives of the Children’s Alliance of Kansas and FosterAdopt Connect testified as proponents of the bill. Proponents generally stated the issue of considering attachment to caregivers in cases of adoption from the foster care system has developed over the last few years and believe this bill effectively balances the various considerations related to the topic. Written-only proponent testimony was provided by the Child Advocate and a representative of KVC Kansas.
On February 21, 2023, the Committee recommended the bill be passed with amendments to:

  • Change the bill’s effective date;
  • Make the bill’s provisions retroactive to pending proceedings on the effective date of the bill;
  • clarify how the Secretary shall give preference to adoptive placements;
  • clarify what data the Secretary must collect under the bill’s provisions; and
  • clarify that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) would apply in orders granting custody involving an Indian child (which it already does) (from HB2369)

On February 23, 2023, the bill was before the House Committee of the Whole, but was passed over retaining a place on the calendar. That same day, the bill was withdrawn from the Calendar and referred to the Committee on Appropriations to save it from being striken. On March 1, 2023, the bill was withdrawn from the House Committee on Appropriations and rereferred to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care. On March 15, 2023, the House Committee further amended the bill to clarify language concerning the right of a foster parent to request direct placement of a child when certain criteria are met.

HB2355: Sodomy; removing act between as consenting persons over 16 years of age as a crime.

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2023 through the House Committee on Judiciary. It would remove from the definition of the crime of sodomy that act of sodomy between consenting persons of the same or different genders who were both at least 16 years of age. The bill would It was assigned to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for consideration.

HB2356: Child custody; temporary orders. creating a presumption that joint legal custody and “maximized parenting time” be included in temporary parenting plans.

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2023, through the House Judiciary Committee. It would create a presumption in temporary orders issued by a court that those orders should be for joint legal custody and that “maximized parenting time” be included in those orders rather than parenting time appropriate for the particular facts of the case or considering the children’s best interests. It is a rehash of bills from past legislative sessions that sought to compel judges to ignore children’s interests in favor of those of parents who think they “deserve more” than they get regardless of the facts in their own case.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

HB2361: CINC; limiting preference for relatives.

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2023, through the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care. The bill would limit the preference for relatives stated in the Kansas Child in need of care statutes.

The bill was assigned to House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration. The bill was scheduled for hearing on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. On February 23, 2023, the bill was withdrawn from the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care and referred to the Committee on Appropriations to save it from being stricken. On March 3, 2023, the bill was withdrawn from the House Committee on Appropriations and rereferred to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care. On March 21, 2023, the House recommended that the bill be passed as introduced.

HB2369: Children; indigenous people; creating and defining terms for the Kansas Indian Child Welfare Act.

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2023 by Rep. Haswood (D-Lawrence), the first and only native American legislator in the Kansas Legislature. It would create a Kansas “Indian Child Welfare Act.”

The bill was assigned to a House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration.

HB2370: Sexual Assault; defining “consent”

This bill was introduced on February 9, 2023. It would define “consent” in the Kansas criminal code for the purposes of conviction on various sexual offenses.

The bill was assigned to House Committee for consideration.

HB2379: Protection Orders; requiring that orders for protection from abuse, stalking, sexual assault, and human trafficking also prohibit the victim from contacting the perpetrator.

This bill was introduced on February 9, 2023. It would require that a court issuing orders to a victim for protection from abuse, stalking, sexual assault, and human trafficking also be prohibited from contacting the perpetrator. The bill is clearly lashing out at victims. And while there is often confusion about whether an order for protection applies to both perpetrator and victim, the orders always clearly state that the perpetrator and not the victim is restrained from certain actions.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

HB2381: CINC; Requiring appointment of child’s attorney and the optional appointment of a GAL.

This bill was introduced on February 9, 2023. It would require the court to appoint an attorney to represent a child who is the subject of a child in need of care proceedings and allow the court the “option” of appointment of a guardian ad litem.

The bill was assigned to House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The Committee set the bill for hearing for Thursday, February 16, 2023, at 3:30 PM in Room 582-N.

HB2409: Uniform Parentage Act (2017)

This bill was introduced on February 10, 2023 through the House Judiciary Committee. It is the result of a multi-year study and drafting effort by the Kansas Judicial Council’s Family Law Advisory Committee completed in 2021. The bill would replace the current Kansas Parentage Act (based on the Uniform Parentage Act 1973 version), enacted in 1985. As the Family Law Advisory Committee noted in its report to the Kansas Judicial Council recommending the introduction of the UPA 2017, “the Kansas legislature has updated or added individual statutes within the parentage act as needed. For example, in 1994, statutes implementing a hospital-based program for voluntary acknowledgment of paternity were added to the Kansas parentage act.2 In 2010, the parentage act was recodified and transferred from Chapter 38, Article 11 to Chapter 23, Article 22. However, there has not been a comprehensive review and update to the Kansas parentage act in the 35 years since its enactment.”

Enactment of the UPA (2017) with Kansas amendments would replace Kansas’s current piece-meal parentage act with a comprehensive and organized act. It would provide essential updates including:
• Clarification and redefinition of who is a “presumed parent;”
• Statutory provisions clearly setting out how courts are to resolve conflicting claims to parentage;
• Updated standards for genetic testing and rules protecting against the unlawful disclosure of genetic testing information;
• Establishment of rights for children born through assisted reproductive technology to access medical and identifying information regarding a gamete provider;
• Protection against the establishment of parentage when a child was conceived through sexual assault;
• Use of gender-neutral terminology; and
• An establishment of an administrative process for acknowledgment and denials of parentage.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Monday, February 13, 2023, at 3:30 PM in Room 546-S. Ronald W. Nelson testified in favor of the bill for the Kansas Judicial Council. In addition, Libby Snyder, Legislative Counsel for the Uniform Laws Commission testified about the bill and its intent and purpose, as well as the process for consideration of uniform laws by the ULC.  

HB2443: Child Advocate; establishing the office of the child advocate (PASSED HOUSE 116-7)

This bill was introduced on turn-around day through the House Appropriations Committee. It is a bill similar to ones that were introduced in past legislative sessions. The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration, although it will not be considered until the 2024 session since it was introduced late in the regular 2023 session. The Committee set the bill for a hearing on Monday, March 6, 2023, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. On March 16, 2023, the Committee adopted amendments to:

  • Modify the membership of the Board;
  • Allow for the suspension or removal of Board members and for the filling of vacancies created by such action;
  • Provide for the election of Board leadership positions;
  • Add a limitation concerning complaints filed and reviewed by the Child Advocate; and
  • Add an additional qualification that could be considered when appointing the Child Advocate.

On March 27, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended that the amended bill be passed. The full House considered the amended bill on March 28, 2023, and passed it Yea: 116 Nay: 7.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on March 29, 2023, and was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings.