Kansas: floor amendment requires names of all applicants for district court judgeships be released; makes proceedings subject to open meetings act

A proposal in Kansas to give the state’s governor a longer list of names to select from in picking trial court judges via the state’s merit/commission system was amended on the House floor yesterday to require all applicants for district court judgeships be released and male almost all nominating commission proceedings public.

SB 128, as substituted by the House, increased the number of names sent to the governor from judicial nominating commissions to fill district court vacancies from minimum 2/maximum 3 to minimum 3/maximum 5.

The floor amendment offered and adopted requires the names of all applicants be released for such judgeships.

The chairperson [of the judicial nominating commission] shall make the name of each person whose nomination is accepted available to the public whenever the commission stops accepting nominations for such appointment, but not less than 10 days prior to submitting the names of nominees to the governor.

In addition the floor amendment specifies commission proceedings would be subject to the state’s open meetings act/open to the public and prohibits closed or executive meetings except for sensitive financial or background check information.

The amendment was approved on a 77-41 vote. The amended bill now goes to the full House for a final vote before going back to the Senate.