KS Legislature Gone, But Not Controversy Over Courts Bill

KansasThe Kansas legislature has finally wrapped up work after a long overtime session to deal with contentious budget issues. A bill that it passed for funding state courts, signed by Gov. Sam Brownback, was one of the legislature’s most controversial actions.

The bill has an unusual provision to strike the funding if a Kansas court overturns a year-old statute that removed authority of the state Supreme Court to name district court chief judges. It has received extensive attention both in Kansas and nationally.

At Salon, Paul Rosenberg mentioned the law at length in an article that was headlined, “Sam Brownback guts Kansas even more: This is life under America’s worst Republican governor.”

Rosenberg wrote that the new court funding law “stripped the Supreme Court of supervisory functions established in the state constitution. Hence, Brownback and the legislature are defying the power of the court to decide constitutional law.” Meanwhile, a Wichita Eagle article mentioned the new law in summarizing what the legislature did, and did not do, this session.