KS House: Effort to end merit selection for court of appeals added onto bill dealing with recalling retired judges back into service

I noted several weeks ago the effort to end merit selection for the Kansas Court of Appeals (see here and here). That bill, HB 2101 was approved by the full House February 25 and has been pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee since March 3.

An utterly unrelated bill, SB 83, was introduced in February. SB 83 removes timing provisions requiring that a retired judge seeking to be temporarily recalled back to service enter into a written agreement for such employment with the Kansas Supreme Court either before retirement or else within 5 years after retirement and within 30 days before the judge’s retirement anniversary. SB 83 was introduced at the request of the state’s supreme court and sailed through the Senate on a 39-0 vote on February 24.

The House, however, had other ideas for the bill. An amendment added in the House Committee on Judiciary required any agreements be signed by the chief justice, or the chief justice’s designee, with the approval of a majority of the justices of the supreme court.

On the House floor, however, an amendment was offered on March 23 that added the language of HB 2101 to SB 83. The Democratic House Minority Leader asked for a ruling on whether the amendment was germane to the bill. The amendment was ruled germane (see House Journal pages 695-697 here) and the bill passed on a 66-57 vote (the original HB 2101 vote was 66-53).

The Senate declined to concur with the House amendment(s) and both chambers appointed a conference committee on March 28 and 29.