News

News

Supreme Court accepting public comment on amended Rule 116

The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment on amendments to Rule 116 regarding admission of out-of-state attorneys to make it easier for a tribe to exercise its rights to participate in Indian Child Welfare Act Proceedings. The amendments are requested by the Kansas Judicial Council, on the recommendation of its Tribal-State Judicial Forum.  
 
The Supreme Court will accept comment until 5 p.m. Monday, March 18, 2019.  Comments are to be sent to rulenotice@kscourts.org with "Rule 116" in the subject line.

Mary Shultz
Douglas County Commission to change time of meetings to help increase accessibility

Beginning March 6, 2019, Douglas County Commission meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. to help make it easier for the public to attend. Currently, meetings are at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Douglas County Commission meetings are held on Wednesdays on the second floor of the County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts Street. The day of the week and location will remain the same.

Also beginning March 6, county commissioners will have work sessions as needed at 4 p.m. before their regular meetings. The work sessions will allow commissioners to study and discuss projects with staff and other agencies. No action will be taken during work sessions.

Douglas County commissioners and staff are working to increase accessibility to information. Audio recordings of Douglas County Commission meetings are now available on the county’s website under reports and archives: https://www.douglascountyks.org/commission/reports-and-archives.

Mary Shultz
Updated salary study shows judicial branch employee pay still below market

On February 11, 2019, the Kansas judicial branch released an updated study showing that pay for nearly every job classification within the branch continues to be below market levels, some by as much as 18.6 percent.

"When I gave my State of the Judiciary address Wednesday, I noted that pay for Kansas trial judges ranks dead last among our 50 states and the District of Columbia," said Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

"This salary study shows that our employees also continue to be paid below market rates, and some to a significant degree." In 2016, the judicial branch obtained a grant from the State Justice Institute to contract with the National Center for State Courts to study the branch's job classifications and rates of compensation for both employees and district magistrate judges. Since then, the Legislature has appropriated funds to the judicial branch to allow modest pay increases for both judges and employees.

The newest study, however, shows that employee pay continues to fall short of market rates. The judicial branch used preliminary data from this latest update to prepare its budget request submitted in September 2018. The request included $20.1 million in fiscal year 2020 and $20.3 million in fiscal year 2021 beyond the branch's base operating budget. In both fiscal years, $10.3 million would be to pay for increases for employees, and $7.8 million in fiscal year 2020 and $7.9 million in fiscal year 2021 would for pay increases for judges. The remaining money would be used to fill vacant positions and add judges and accompanying staff. Specifically, requested additional funding will allow for: increasing pay for employees from 2.4 percent up to 18.6 percent, based on job classification; bringing pay for district judges to an average of the surrounding states of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, and giving the same percentage increase to salaries for appellate judges and district magistrate judges; filling vacant positions, and adding seven judges and support staff according to needs verified by a weighted caseload study.

"As chief administrative officer of the Kansas judicial branch, my concern is efficient, effective management of our state courts," Nuss said. "That includes making sure we are staffed to meet the needs of the people we serve. Being able to offer pay appropriate to the market is essential to achieve that purpose."

The updated study, as well as fact sheets about judicial branch salaries, its budget, and its operations are available online at http://www.kscourts.org/CourtAdministration/Compensation_Study/index.html .

Mary Shultz
Supreme Court Traveling Docket comes to Lawrence

The Kansas Supreme Court is heading to the University of Kansas in Lawrence as part of its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Lawrence in the court's 158-year history and it will be the 10th time the court will hear cases in the evening.

Oral Argument and Public Reception

The public is invited to attend the special session to hear oral arguments in person. Court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Monday, April 1, 2019, at the Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, on the KU campus in Lawrence.

The court will hear oral arguments in two cases. After the session concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the Lied Center lobby.

Quiet, Please

Talking during oral arguments is prohibited. If you arrive after proceedings start, or you must leave the performing arts center before it ends, be as quiet as possible entering and exiting. Also, do not talk immediately outside the entrance doors.

Security Screening

If you attend in person, plan to arrive early to allow time to get through security screening. Follow these guidelines to make your check-in as quick and easy as possible:

  • Do not bring large bags, large purses, backpacks, computer cases, or briefcases.

  • Do not bring knives, pepper spray, firearms, or weapons.

  • Do not bring electronic devices like laptop computers, handheld games, personal digital assistants, or tablets. If you have to carry a cell phone, it must be turned off or its ringer silenced, and it must be stored out of sight.

  • Do not bring food or drink.

Court and university staff will not be responsible for property left outside the performing arts center.

View Oral Arguments Online

If you can't attend in person, watch a live webcast of the oral arguments online at Watch Supreme Court Live! accessible from the judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org. Another option is to watch an archived recording of the proceedings after the event.

Cases on Docket

Cases to be heard will be announced about one month before the oral arguments take place. Information about the cases will be posted here.


Mary Shultz
Message from BIDS on Potential E-mail Scam

 From Patricia A. Scalia, State Director, BIDS:

An e-mail scam is being circulated that is claiming to be from BIDS and wanting your credit card. BIDS does not issue bills by e-mail and does not request credit card information. If you receive such an e-mail, do not click on any attachment and do not give out your credit card information.

 

Mary Shultz
Sarah Warner a Finalist for Next Judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals

Governor Laura Kelly’s judicial nominating committee has selected Sarah Warner, the Law Library’s Board of Trustees Chair as one of three finalists for the next judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals. Governor Kelly has until March 15—60 days from the retirement of Hon. Patrick McAnany—to make her appointment, subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate.

The other finalists are Jeffry Jack, a district court judge in Labette County since 2005. He earned his undergraduate degree in anthropology from Harvard and his law degree from the University of Kansas. He also served in the Kansas House of Representatives; and

Marcia Wood, currently a partner with the Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace and Bauer LLP in Wichita. Previously, she clerked for the U.S. District Judge Frank G. Theis. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Kansas.

Mary Shultz
"If I Were Mayor" Winners Announced by League of Kansas Municipalities

On January 23, the League of Kansas Municipalities held their annual Local Government Day event. Hundreds of local government officials, both elected and appointed, attended the event to discuss legislative priorities for cities. The League also uses this event as an opportunity to recognize six 7th graders for their participation in the League’s annual “If I Were Mayor” memo contest.

This year, the League recognized Brent Henry, a 7th grade student at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Goddard, as the statewide winner. Henry’s memo represented the South Central region of Kansas.

Lawrence student Jack Tell, from Billy Mills Middle School, was the North East Regional Winner.

Every year, the League hosts a statewide competition for all seventh-grade students. The students are tasked with deciding what change they would want to make in their community if given the chance to be mayor. The memo format requires students to consider their policy proposal, barriers to implementation, and an evaluation of necessary resources. Hundreds of students participated in the contest and five regional winners along with one overall winner was selected. Henry’s memo focused on building more inclusive playgrounds with accessibility to everyone which included smooth surfaces, wheelchair accessible ramps, adaptive swings, and sensory components. His memo suggested funding for his project would be managed through existing funds for playgrounds, by reallocating funds to buy more inclusive equipment, or through grants and fundraising. Henry emphasized the need for collaboration between schools and community organizations.

Mary Shultz
2019 Board of Trustees Self-Nomination Form

If you are willing to serve on the Law Library Board of Trustees and would like your name placed on the ballot, please complete the self-nomination form and make certain that it is received in the Law Library no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019.  

 Pursuant to K.S.A. 20-3126, to be eligible to serve on the Board, you must be an attorney registered with the Clerk of the Douglas County District Court, and live or practice in Douglas County, Kansas.  Unless employed solely as a public defender by the State Board of Indigents' Defense Services, you must also have paid the 2019 Michael J. Malone Douglas County Law Library Registration fee of $50.00.

Mary Shultz