Kansas Legislature – 2024

The 2024 Kansas Legislature convened on Monday, January 8, 2024. With the 2024 elections scheduled to occur in November, it is expected that the 2024 legislative session will be (relatively) short and filled with political one-upmanship and bills to satisfy the wants of various political groups. Bills introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session survive for consideration in the 2024 legislative session, although a new version of the holdover bill is often introduced.

For the 2024 Session of the Kansas Legislature, individual requests for bill introductions must be submitted before February 7, 2024, with committee introductions before February 9, 2024. All bills must pass their house-of-origin on or before February 23, 2020–turn-around day (with some exceptions) resuming a week later for the second half of the session.

Bills, other than for funding bills and those assigned to an “exempt committee,” must pass the opposite house of origin on or before March 28, 2024 (second-house turn-around). No bills are considered after March 28, 2024 except for bills vetoed by the Governor, Omnibus Appropriations Act and Omnibus Reconciliations Spending Limits Bills.

The Legislature returns for its “Veto Session” on April 29, 2024.

The Kansas legislative session generally runs for 90 days, from early January until approximately mid-April.

More bills than in past years were stuck in committee and Conference Committee at the end of the 2023 legislative session than in past years. Our summary includes those bills that are still valid for consideration.

Senate:

HSubSB73Crimes; 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 House received the bill 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 substitute and voted to appoint a Conferrence Committee. The House followed suit that same day, and a Conference Committee was appointed. 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. 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.

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.

SB372: Doxing; enacting civil liability for doxing.

This bill was introduced on January 23, 2024, through the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. It would create the “civil liability for doxing act.” The act would prohibit the intentional publication of another person’s personally identifiable information without the consent of the person whose information is published under certain circumstances and would authorize a civil action against the perpetrator for violations of the act to recover damages and obtain injunctive relief. The bill in fact has nothing to do with “child support” but instead with pregnancy-related medical expenses, which are already provided for (and have been provided for in Kansas law) for over 50 years. Also, the amendments made aren’t made in statutes actually dealing with “child support,” but are instead in provisions about administrative rules.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings.

SB425: Child Support; child support from date of conception.

This bill was introduced on January 30, 2024, through the Senate Judiciary Committee without a named sponsor. The bill is incredibly stupid. It really provides no more — and no less — than the law already provides. The bill seeks to amend the statute directing what must be considered in coming up with the state’s child support guidelines (KSA 20-165), adding a subsection providing that in adopting child support guidelines, the Supreme Court must consider, “the direct medical and pregnancy-related expenses of the mother if the child is an unborn child.” But that, “[t]he maximum amount of child support to be ordered for the support of an unborn child shall not exceed the direct medical and pregnancy-related expenses of the mother of the unborn child. Pregnancy-related expenses shall not include any costs related to an elective abortion.”

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings. The Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Monday, February 12, 2024, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S. At that hearing, four proponents and one opponent provided testimony. All of the proponents asserted their support of the bill because “Women who become mothers of a child facing the abandonment of the child’s father need and deserve better financial support and security.” Kansas Catholic Conference testimony. Opposition testimony attacked the bill as “nothing more than an attempt to further an anti-abortion agenda,” while seeking to “to establish fetal ‘personhood,’ “a disingenuous tactic used by those who oppose comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care by elevating the rights of a fetus to be equivalent or superior to those of a pregnant person.” Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes testimony. No one pointed out that the bill does nothing; and that while it does seek to elevate “fetal personhood,” it also withdraws the right to recover if the child is not born alive. In other words, it is even more disingenuous because it doesn’t provide what it says it provides — it instead provides a sham political gotcha for political use and dissension.

SB494: Adoption Savings Account Act

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2024, through the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation. It would create the “adoption savings account act,” allowing individuals to establish adoption savings accounts with certain financial institutions, providing for certain eligible expenses to be paid from those accounts, requirements and restrictions for the accounts, and establishing addition and subtraction modifications for contributions to such accounts under the Kansas income tax act.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation for hearings.

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, but the bill was not heard and was “skipped over” when the Chair did not call the bill for testimony, leaving the conferees sitting in disbelief.

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.

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.

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. (PASSED HOUSE 124-0)

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. On March 21, 2023, the House Committee amended the bill to maintain the periods of ineligibility for a child care subsidy based on a parent’s non-cooperation with child support services in current law, with the exception that reviews to determine child support compliance would be limited to specific times upon the recommendation of the Deputy Secretary who indicated this amendment would address the agency’s concerns regarding compliance with federal law.

The House Committee also returned to the language in the current statute stating that child care subsidy applicants and recipients are deemed to have assigned rights to child support payments to the Secretary when cooperating with child support services, replacing references to “child care benefits” with “child care subsidy” in that statute for the consistent use of terms. With those amendments, the House Committee recommended that the bill be passed by the full House.

On March 28, 2023, the House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill be passed with a change to the title of the bill. The full House passed the bill Yea: 124 Nay: 0 on March 29, 2023.

The House passed bill was introduced into the Senate on April 3, 2023, and assigned to the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare.

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. A second hearing was set before the Committee on Monday, February 19, 2024, at 1:30 PM Room in Room 152-S. On February 21, 2024, the bill was withdrawn from the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care and referred to the Committee on Appropriations. The following day, the bill was re-referred to the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care from the House Committee on Appropriations.

HB2194: Foster Care; Bill of Rights, enacting the “Representative Gail Finney memorial foster care bill of rights” (PASSED HOUSE 124-0)

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.

The House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill as amended by Committee be passed on March 29, 2023. The full House passed the amended bill Yea: 124 Nay: 0, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

The House passed bill was submitted into the Senate on April 3, 2023, and assigned to the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare for hearings.

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 Committee 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 the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for consideration. The bill was scheduled for hearing on Monday, February 19, 2024, at 1:30 PM in Room 546-S.

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. On February 13, 2024, the bill was withdrawn from the Committee on Judiciary and was referred to the House Committee on Appropriations. On February 14, 2024, the bill was withdrawn from Committee on Appropriations and re-referred back to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

HB2409: Parentage; enacting the 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. 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.

HB2536: Foster care; Establishing the SOUL family legal permanency option for children 16 years of age or older. (PASSED HOUSE 112-8)

This bill was introduced on January 18, 2024, into the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care at the request of the Children’s Alliance of Kansas. The SOUL Family program was developed by DCF, guided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and input from former foster kids. The bill would establish a new legal permanency option for children 16 years of age or older who are in the custody of the Secretary for Children and Families (Secretary). The bill would amend various statutes contained in the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children (CINC Code) to reference this new form of permanency, which would be designated as “SOUL Family Legal Permanency” (SFLP).

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for hearings. The bill was set for hearing on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. During January hearings on the legislation, encapsulated as House Bill 2536, multiple former foster children spoke in support of SOUL, describing their experiences with instability and isolation in state custody. “Not often do we hear a bill with that much overwhelming proponent testimony, and powerful testimony at that,” said Rep. Jarrod Ousley, D-Merriam as reported by the Kansas Reflector. The House Committee adopted a technical amendment to correct a grammatical error and passed the bill out of the Committee on February 6, 2024, for consideration by the House. On February 21, 2024, the House Committee of the Whole recommended that the bill be passed as amended by Committee. On February 22, 2024, the full House passed the bill as amended by Committee Yea: 112 Nay: 8.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 28, 2024, and assigned to the Public Health and Welfare Committee for hearings. The Committee set a hearing for Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 8:30 AM in Room 142-S.

HB2549: Adoption and Relinquishment; limiting petitions to terminate parental rights under the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act to adoption proceedings, and setting requirements for petitions filed separately from petitions for adoption. (PASSED HOUSE 119-1)

This bill was introduced through the House Judiciary Committee by the Kansas Judicial Council. The bill came about in 2022, while the Judicial Council’s Adoption Law Advisory Committee was working on a separate issue related to 2018 amendments to the Adoption and Relinquishment Act. During its study, the Committee learned of cases in which parties had attempted to use K.S.A. 59-2136(d) to support filing a petition for termination of parental rights in cases unrelated to an adoption. The Committee agreed on amendments to subsection (d)(1) that operate to further clarify that a petition for termination of parental rights may be filed with or without a petition for adoption and may be in the same or a different venue, while also clearly limiting use of the section to adoption-related cases.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings. The Committee set a hearing on the bill for Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at 3:30 PM in Room 582-N. On February 4, 2024, the House Judiciary Committee recommended passage of the bill by the House. The bill passed out of Committee with a favorable recommendation of passage on February 8, 2024. The bill was considered by the House Committee of the Whole on Wednesday, February 21, 2024. The House COW adopted a floor amendment to the bill by Rep. Susan Concannon (R-Beloit) directing that a hearing on the petition “shall be heard within 60 days” of the petition filing rather than “at any time not more than 60 days” after the petition is filed. The bill was further amended to specify the persons and agencies who shall receive notice of that hearing as well as the persons who are not entitled to notice of that hearing. On February 22, 2024, the House adopted the amended bill Yea: 119 Nay: 1, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 23, 2024, and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings on February 28, 2024. The Committee set a hearing on the bill for March 6, 2024, at 10:30 AM in Room 346-S.

HB2552: CINC; Prohibiting the secretary for children and families from using federal benefits of a child in need of care for the care and custody of the child and requiring the secretary to create and maintain an account of such benefits received for such child.

This bill was introduced through the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care at the request of John Monroe, The Center for the Rights of Abused Children. The bill would prohibit the secretary for the Department of Children and Families from using federal benefits of a child in need of care for the care and custody of the child and require thqt the secretary to create and maintain an account of benefits received for the child separate from state and department funds.

The bill was assigned to the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for hearings. The bill was scheduled for hearing on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S.

HB2553: CINC; children and minors; relating to children who are missing in custody of the secretary for children and families; establishing procedures for the secretary and law enforcement agencies after receiving information that a child in custody of the secretary is missing

This bill was introduced through the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care at the request of John Monroe, The Center for the Rights of Abused Children. The bill would in part require law enforcement agencies within the state to input information to the national crime information center (NCIC) and unidentified person system of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation within two hours after being notified that a child in custody of the secretary is missing.

The bill was assigned to the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for hearings. The bill was scheduled for hearing on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S. The hearing was canceled on February 7, 2024.

HB2554: CINC; Directing the secretary for children and families to identify relatives and persons with whom a child in custody of the secretary has close emotional ties for placement and send notice of custody to the persons when identified.

This bill was introduced through the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care at the request of John Monroe, The Center for the Rights of Abused Children. The bill would in part require the Secretary of DCF to identify and notify adult relatives who has close emotional ties with a child taken into protective custody by DCF within thirty days of the issuance of that court order. The bill would provide for other notification mandates to those adult relatives at specified points during the proceedings.

The bill was assigned to the Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for hearings. The bill was scheduled for hearing on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S.

HB2630: Evidence; allowing history of previous domestic violence offenses to be admitted in criminal prosecutions of a domestic violence offenses

This bill was introduced on January 30, 2024, through the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice by Abraham Pfannenstiel on behalf of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association. It would amend KSA 60-455 of the Kansas Evidence Code to allow admission and consideration of “evidence of the defendant’s commission of another domestic violence offense . . . for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant and probative.”

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice for hearing on January 30, 2024.

HB2675: Parent’s Rights; enacting the uniform nonparent visitation act (PASSED HOUSE 120-0)

This bill was introduced on February 1, 2024, through the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Kansas Judicial Council. The bill would amend and update Kansas third-party visitation statutes to comply with United States Supreme Court precedents and Kansas appellate court precedents and directives. The bill would make clear that parent’s have a constitutional right in determining how their children are raised – and by whom – and would provide the nature of the relationship necessary for a person to file an action seeking third-party visitation with a parent’s child over that parent’s wishes. The bill is the result of a two-year study by the Kansas Judicial Council Family Law Advisory Committee. The bill provides that in order to obtain third-party visitation of a child, that person must provide by “clear and convincing evidence” that visitation is in the best interest of the child or that denial of visitation was “unreasonable” and that failure to grant visitation would be harmful to the child. The bill would impose a statutory presumption that a parent’s decision is correct (rather than the current case law-based presumption directed by Troxel v. Granville. The existing statutes have not been modified since the mid-1980s – nearly 15 years before the US Supreme Court decision in Troxel v. Granville reasserting that parental rights are supreme over third-party desires.

The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for hearings. The Committee held a hearing for the bill on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at 3:30 o’clock p.m. in Room 582-N. Ronald W. Nelson testified in favor of the bill for the Kansas Judicial Council. In addition, a private resident provided written testimony in favor of the bill and how the existing law affected her rights as a parent. On February 15, 2024, the Committee recommended that the bill pass the House without amendment. On February 21, 2024, the House Committee of the Whole considered the bill and recommended that it be passed by the full House. The full House considered the bill for final action on February 22, 2024. The bill passed unanimously, Yea: 120 Nay: 0.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on February 23, 2024, and it was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings on February 28, 2024. The Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 10:30 am in Room 346-S.

HB2757: Adoption Savings Account Act

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2024, by Rep. Susan Estes (R-Wichita) through the House Committee on Taxation. It would create the “adoption savings account act,” allowing individuals to establish adoption savings accounts with certain financial institutions, providing for certain eligible expenses to be paid from those accounts, requirements and restrictions for the accounts, and establishing addition and subtraction modifications for contributions to such accounts under the Kansas income tax act. It was also introduced into the Senate as SB494.

The bill was assigned to the House Committee on Taxation for hearings, and set for hearing on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at 3:30 PM in Room 346-S.

HB2772: Children; indigenous people; creating and defining terms for the Kansas Indian Child Welfare Act.

This bill was introduced on February 8, 2024, through the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care 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.” It is a re-introduction of the same bill introduced into the 2023 Legislature as HB2369, which did not receive a hearing.

The bill was assigned to a House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care for consideration. A hearing on the bill was scheduled for Monday, February 19, 2024, at 1:30 PM in Room 152-S.