Kansas: plan to cut judiciary’s funding if courts strike down certain state laws apparently killed UPDATE: it lives

UPDATE: The non-severability provision is still alive as HB 2005 as amended by the Senate. HB 2365 deals with funding for the judiciary as approved by a House committee, but the main bill at issue remains HB 2005 which remains alive as of this afternoon (May 5). Story edited below to reflect new info.

This year’s plans to cut the funding for Kansas courts if they strike down certain laws appear to have fizzled, but the question of cuts to last year’s budget for declaring laws unconstitutional remain remains active in at least one bill to fund the state’s courts.

As detailed here and here, this process started in 2014 with HB 2338 as amended. The bill gave $2 million to the state’s judiciary for FY 2015 but with a “non-severability” provision: the funds would only come available on the condition that the courts not strike down other provisions in HB 2338 stripping the supreme court of administrative power.

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.

A lawsuit was filed in February 2015 challenged the constitutionality of HB 2338 in light of a state constitutional provision that “The supreme court shall have general administrative authority over all courts in this state.” That lawsuit is pending a copy is located here.

A new plan was set in motion in 2015 (discussed here) to tie yet another round of funding for the courts to the 2014 legislation as well: if the courts upheld the pending lawsuit and found the 2014 law unconstitutional both it and any funding from the 2015 bill (HB 2005 as amended by the Senate) would be void.

The provisions of this act are not severable, nor are they severable from the provisions of 2014 Senate Substitute for House Bill No. 2338, chapter 82 of the 2014 Session Laws of Kansas. If any provision of this act or of 2014 Senate Substitute for House Bill No. 2338, chapter 82 of the 2014 Session Laws of Kansas, 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 this act without such stayed, invalid or unconstitutional provision and the provisions of this act are hereby declared to be null and void and shall have no force and effect.

A House committee met last week and officially reported out today a plan (HB 2365): the courts could get funds and the non-severability provision has been removed under this bill. The main funding bill for the Senate side remains HB 2005 as amended and it keeps the non-severability language.

 

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