I mentioned previously Kansas House efforts to statutorily kill merit selection in the state’s Court of Appeals (because ending it for the Supreme Court required a constitutional amendment) directly (see here and here) or by tacking it onto other pieces of legislation.
Now, House members have attempted to end an ancillary element of merit selection: the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance. Created in 2006, the Commission is statutorily required to publicly recommend that judges subject to retention elections either “be retained” or “not be retained.” HB 2396 seeks to end the commission.
According to the supplemental note filed with the bill after the committee hearing (minutes are not yet available), when the House Appropriations Committee held its hearings on the bill on May 2, no proponents spoke in support. The bill itself had no official individual as its sponsor, but the committee itself is listed as author (“By Committee on Appropriations”). Opponents, on the other hand, included members of the Commission and the state bar.
Despite the lack of proponents, HB 2396 passed the House Appropriations Committee. With the legislature suppose to have adjourned already and stymied with budget woes, it is unclear what future the bill has this year. However, 2011 bills need not be reintroduced in 2012, so HB 2396 will probably start off immediately on the House floor come the 2012 session.