Kansas Senate Ways & Means Committee will give more funding for courts, but remove it if the courts strike down certain laws

This post has been updated

I’ve mentioned the several efforts in the Kansas Senate to deprive the state supreme court of  power over local court budgets and the selection of chief judges. Last week the Senate Committee on Ways and Means effectively tied such efforts to additional funding for the courts with a take-it-or-leave-it approach; if the state supreme court were to strike down as unconstitutional ANY provision of supplemental funding bill HB 2338 (such as those removing the supreme court’s power over budgeting or appointing chief judges in the state) the funding would be eliminated.

The provisions of this act are not severable. If any provision of this act is stayed or is held to be invalid or unconstitutional, it shall be presumed conclusively that the legislature would not have enacted the remainder of such act without such stayed, invalid or unconstitutional provision.

The Senate Ways and Means committee substitute to HB 2338 starts off with an additional $2 million for court funding but then effectively packs several bills together with the “non-servability” provision.

  • SB 313 increases or creates new filing and docket fees
  • SB 364 allows local courts to opt-out of Supreme Court control over the preparation and submission of budgets and removes from the
    Supreme Court’s judicial personnel classification system any nonjudicial personnel who would be subject to the authority of
    a chief judge who has elected responsibility for the district budget
  • SB 365 removes Supreme Court’s power to select the chief judges of the district courts and Court of Appeals, allowing those courts to pick their own chief judges
  • SB 377 allows judicial vacancies to remain open up to 120 days

HB 2338 as amended by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, is set for a vote today (March 6) by the full Senate.