Today was supposed to be the last day of the 90-day 2012 Legislative Session. But as most of you already know, it was not.
The entire 2012 Kansas Legislative Session has been filled with bravado and bluster. And the “veto session” was not any better. In fact, it was much worse. The veto session was filled high-tension, high-emotions, and high-stakes, but also with high-drama. And not the good kind of drama. But, on the “positive side,” there is still at least one more full week ahead for the Legislature to finish its destructive path – or at least until June 1, 2012, when the chambers have set as the new date for “sine die.” Or as it’s become this session: “if we don’t die first.”
Luckily, the family law arena has been much less contentious and drama-filled than other parts of the Legislative process (which few of us imagined possible). Chief among the cliff-hanging issues was what was going to happen with the Family Law Recodification Cleanup bill.
In the last update, #HB2741, the Family Law Code Cleanup Bill, had been passed by the Kansas House, introduced into the Kansas Senate, and informally assigned to a House-Senate Conference Committee since there would be no time for hearings to be held in the Senate since it was near the last day of the “regular session” of the Kansas Legislature. The bill was being considered by the House-Senate Conference Committee with a couple other important family law bills passed by one or the other house:
–HB2741, relating to cleanup changes to the Kansas Family Law Code (sponsored by the Kansas Judicial Council)
–SB304, relating to Certified Batterer Intervention Program Act, Domestic relations case managers, professional and educational requirements, continuing education, which had been passed by the House after a Committee amendment incorporating into it the provisions of #HB2740, which would impose licensing and other requirements on domestic relations case managers, but which had not been heard by committee (For the original House bill on Case managers, see: #HB2740 relating to change in domestic relations case management http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/hb2740/ )).
Into this mix came a case from Lawrence dealing with domestic relations case managers, which is scheduled for hearing before the Kansas Court of Appeals in Wamego on May 15: In re Marriage of Huthison, which deals with the powers of case managers and whether a court needs to hold a hearing on the case manager recommendations to change residence of a child. On April 24, 2012, the Topeka Capital Journal carried an article about this case (see http://cjonline.com/news/2012-04-22/child-custody-case-managers-scrutinized ) As mentioned in the Topeka-Capital article, Representative Joe Patton, who is on the Domestic Relations Conference Committee, did not think that the case management statute was being used in the way it was reportedly being used and pledged that if it were being used in an inappropriate way the Legislature would do something about it. And thus began the Conference Committee discussions.
Reportedly, the Conference Committee came to agreement on the provisions (including that there would not be an “radical” changes to the case management statute pending decision by the Court of Appeals of the Hutchison appeal), but without a Committee Report, there was uncertainty.
This afternoon (Friday, May 11, 2012) as the Kansas House was winding down after a heady debate about the threat posed by a 1992 Resolution by United Nations to encourage world-wide resources sustainability (Article 21) and other similarly intellectual pursuits, the House was presented with the Conference Committee Report on SB304, stated to be a massive, but not particularly significant bill since it was mostly technical. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing (5:30 pm on Friday, May 11, 2012), the CCR is not yet available on the Kansas Legislature Website (http://www.kslegislature.org) and so we cannot say what exactly that CCR (Conference Committee Report) says. But we know it corrects many problems with the Kansas Family Law Code that resulted in the rushed passage of the bill last year. We just don’t know what all else it does — yet. But the Senate will have its chance to review and vote on the bill next week when we get to enjoy the heart-felt pleasures that both Chambers have for one another — all over again.
On other issues:
HB2613, relating to protection from abuse, providing for extension of protection orders for up to life. (The Senate passed the Conference Committee Amendments on March 30, 2012, 40-0 and the House passed the CCR on May 10 on a vote of 124-0) The Conference Committee Amendments are here:http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/documents/ccr_2012_hb2613_s_5298.pdf The Conference Committee Report is here:http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/documents/ccrb_hb2613_01_0000.pdf And the bill history is viewable here: http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/hb2613/
HB2740, would impose licensing and other requirements on domestic relations case managers was amended into SB304, Batterers Intervention Program Act and was passed (in some sense) today by the House as a CCR (see discussion above).
HB2736, relating to stalking, requirements when defendant is under 14 years of age died without hearing
HB2252, relating to name-change in Kansas for persons divorced outside Kansas died after a hearing in which it was pointed out that without a case to attach, a name-change request for a person divorced outside of Kansas would be a “floating file,” without any place and without any ability to track.
SubSB397, changing terminology used in Kansas statutes from “mental retardation” and similar terms to “intellectual disability” and similar terms. (Signed into law by Governor Brownback on April 6, 2012)(Effective July 1, 2012)
SB262, which mandates consideration of grandparent custody when a child is removed from the child’s parents’ home(s) and requiring “substantial consideration” of grandparents when a child is removed from the child’s parents’ home(s) was passed by the House through the Conference Committee Report 120-0 and by the Senate 40-0. It has been presented to the Governor, and the Governor is expected to sign it very soon. The bill history and present text is available at:http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/sb262/
SB292, which proposes to automatically revoke an ex-spouse’s inheritance rights upon divorce (except for federally protected ERISA rights, which pre-empt state actions regarding beneficiary provisions) (passed Senate, in House Committee) died a sad death.
SB297, which removes from “separate property” listing “gifts given by a spouse.” (passed Senate, in House Committee and also died
Luckily for us all, two important bills passed the Kansas Legislature: A resolution condemning Article 21 Sustainability and a prohibition on using foreign law in Kansas courts. We can all now sleep easy. But instead of going into the anguishing intricacies of these fascinating bills, I’ll simply let you view the bills and the articles about them here:
House Sub for SB79: “American Law for Kansas Courts” http://t.co/dPCUQVS1
Topeka Capital-Journal article: http://cjonline.com/news/2012-05-11/bill-aimed-stopping-sharia-law-passes-senate
House Resolution 6032 “Resolution opposing and exposing the radical nature of United Nations Agenda 21.” http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/year2/measures/hr6032/
Topeka Capital-Journal article: http://cjonline.com/news/2012-05-08/house-committee-rebukes-uns-agenda-21
And it would be fun to talk about taxes and the budget, but I’ll let others who enjoy that kind of stuff talk about it rather than me.