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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Judicial officials to reconsider closings after assurances from legislators who say they don’t understand how courts couldn’t trust them to provide funding

April 20, 2012

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— The Kansas Supreme Court said Friday it will reconsider future court closings and employee furloughs after key legislators promised that the judicial branch would receive funding to cover a revenue shortfall.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss issued a statement saying he was “encouraged by the assurances given today by the chair of the House Appropriations Committee and other committee members that the Judicial Branch would receive its supplemental appropriation for Fiscal Year 2012. The Court will meet Monday to consider this development.”

Earlier Friday, Appropriations Chair Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, and other members of the Appropriations Committee promised to fund the judiciary when the legislative session reconvenes next week.

They also criticized the decision by Nuss to close courts and issue employee furloughs for five days. They said Nuss should have known the Legislature would provide the funds needed by the courts even though the Legislature had a budget meltdown and failed to approve the funding before taking a nearly month-long break.

The judicial system needed $1.4 million to make payroll for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Both the House and Senate agreed on the funding, but the overall budget deal fell apart when the House refused to sign the appropriations bill because of a dispute over school funding.

A few days after legislators left town, Nuss ordered the courts closed for five days, resulting in the furlough without pay of 1,500 employees. The first furlough occurred April 13, and the remaining ones are scheduled for April 27, May 11, May 18 and June 8.

During a meeting of the Appropriations Committee on Friday, Republican and Democratic legislators expressed unhappiness with the decision, saying that they were getting heat from constituents.

“If I’m going to get beat up, I want to know why,” state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said to Kim Fowler, the judicial branch fiscal officer, who spoke with the committee.

Appropriations committee members said Nuss should have realized that despite the budget breakdown, the Legislature eventualy would have provided the dollars.

State Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, told Fowler that he was struggling with the idea of why the courts couldn’t trust the Legislature.

But Fowler said that when the Legislature took its annual break, legislators made no assurances that the funding would be forthcoming. Nuss had been warning legislators since January of the need for supplemental funds because of a drop in case filing fees.

Fowler noted that House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, issued news releases that said the courts should use internal funds to make up the shortfall, something that Nuss said was inappropriate.

But Rhoades said the Legislature always intended to provide the funding. “We’ve already taken the public hit,” he said.

Comments

yourworstnightmare 2 years ago

The right wing populists in the Kansas GOP are very good at getting elected.

The problem is, they must govern once elected.

The abject failure of the Kansas legislature to govern is on display with this case, and many others.

Getting elected by vowing to destroy government makes it tough to govern once elected. Like the bull governing the china shop.

Stop electing the wrecking crew, as Tom Franks calls them.

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Alceste 2 years ago

watch:

The "workers" who went on " unpaid furlough" will be fully paid as if they had been on vacation. That's how the court system works in Kansas....

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overthemoon 2 years ago

So...is this another subterfuge to let the privatization of our courts begin?? Hey, just ask the Koch boys for some money, no strings attached. Just big chains.

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pace 2 years ago

I don't want the judicial offices or the schools to trust the intent of the present ks. Legislature and Governor. Wait for the check to clear, better careful now than worse later.

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mikekt 2 years ago

Well, i clicked my heals together three time & when i opened my eyes the Kansas State Court Branch of our Government was still unfunded by our "Right-Wing-Activist" Kansas State Legislature (which is full of "village idiots-gone wild") who are on vacation (apparently) "from doing nothing constructive most of the time & or abusing the middle class, poor, the ill,etc. all of the time"-or as i like to call it, "PREYING ON THE PUBLIC FROM THIER "SPECIAL PRAYER ROOMS". What i don't understand is why they didn't leave the Executive Branch or themselves, the Legislature, unfunded? Now that's a real unknowable mystery!? Why, we'll just have to "pray to God for an answer"! Why should the public be paying those folks for the privilege of being abused, when they have partially disabled our third branch of our government, thru not funding it!? This is "Activist Power-By Not Funding" & it wasn't an accident, that it happened that way! Oh, Gee Honey!!! We forgot to fund the State Courts today!!!!,....Why....AH,HA,HA,HA,Ha!!!!

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Liberty275 2 years ago

Has the legislature ever failed to fund the judiciary in Kansas before?

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volunteer 2 years ago

Too bad the Chief Justice will always bear the infamy of having to apologize and getting admonished for his breach of judicial ethics several years back in that school finance case. A Chief not so tainted may have commanded enough respect for the legislature to listen to him and act accordingly.

But then one recalls some of the antics (fringe right-winger Ellie Mae from Ottawa and the flashing red light in her purse) during this session, and decides that no, we just have some irresponsible kooks in the legislature, particularly on the House side.

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Carol Bowen 2 years ago

The Justice Department acted appropriately. I, for one, expect the government to plan ith the money they have, not the money they don't have.

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verity 2 years ago

If the legislature does come through, can the remaining furloughs be canceled?

Besides the other reasons Chief Justice Nuss had for doing this (all of which seem logical to me), perhaps this will put the pressure on for the legislature to do what they're being paid to do. People get real unhappy when their paychecks and livelihood are affected in a negative manner.

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Centerville 2 years ago

The judicial has 1. plenty of money and 2. plenty of discretion about how to use it. Nuss is just grandstanding and Scott Rothschild is his very own Don King.

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weeslicket 2 years ago

... and the kansas legislative crazy train just keeps chug-chug-chugging along.

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George Lippencott 2 years ago

Thank you for reinforcing my point. Also thank you for displaying ignorance, again, about how the legislature works.

Se this mornings paper

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mikekt 2 years ago

I "trust" the Kansas Legislature;.......to deliberately screw up and screw with (unnecessarily) everything that they touch.....and that is believable! They are a bunch of political lap dogs that aren't house broken so the obvious occurs.

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honestone 2 years ago

Will any of the "trust" situations mentioned here cause people to get out and vote this time??? I doubt it...

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observant 2 years ago

I would advise Nuss to wait until check clears before he spends it, Hope he is well aware of scams where you deposit check, spend your money, then check bounces. That would be typical of what to expect from GOP/Teabaggers, exactly that..

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billbodiggens 2 years ago

We, the people of Kansas, can only take so much from that pack of hounds.

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billbodiggens 2 years ago

Oh Mark "Lonesome" Rhoades can not figure out why we distrust the legislature? ? The one thing that can be counted on is not being able to count on the legislature, especially "Lonesome" Rhoades, “let-them-eat-cake” Rhoades, a demigod of huge proportions. He is either insincere or dumber than a box of rocks. Either way does not bode well in the trust department.

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George Lippencott 2 years ago

Did any of you learn anything about the operation of the legislature or the courts.

The courts have funding enough without using any "other funds" to pay for the employees through at least the middle of June. The money is in the appropriations bills to cover the rest and baring some really strange event (or aggravation) that money will be there in early May. There is no problem and it is confusing as to why the courts already furloughed anybody

Are we letting our strong hatred of Republicans so color our reality that we ignore facts and fall back on spewing venom? If the hoard above is representative of any significant portion of the electorate I fear for the future of the country

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jimmyjms 2 years ago

Marc Rhoades is all over the paper today. The man is a disgrace.

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somedude20 2 years ago

"I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you” - Friedrich Nietzsche "Don't trust the person who has broken faith once.” - William Shakespeare

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verity 2 years ago

Wipes off computer screen as she picks herself up from the floor gasping and choking.

You couldn't make this stuff up. We don't need no comedians in Kansas---even Colbert and Stewart couldn't top this.

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question4u 2 years ago

Is anyone dumb enough to believe Marc Rhoades? Rhoades is doing his best to out-snake Mike O'Neal. Why do Kansans insist on giving power to the dregs of humanity?

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budtugly 2 years ago

"State Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, told Fowler that he was struggling with the idea of why the courts couldn't trust the Legislature." Little Johnny says to Susie," Can I stick my finger in your belly button?"

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Boston_Corbett 2 years ago

"Legislators say they don’t understand how courts couldn’t trust them to provide funding"

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha h ha ha

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Betty Bartholomew 2 years ago

"State Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, told Fowler that he was struggling with the idea of why the courts couldn't trust the Legislature."

Hahahahahahahaha! Oh my, what a funny statement. I mean, the legislature always funds the things they say they'll fund, right?

My sides hurt, I laughed so hard...

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jackbinkelman 2 years ago

"State Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, told Fowler that he was struggling with the idea of why the courts couldn't trust the Legislature." Classic, you can't make this stuff up..

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rgh 2 years ago

"State Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, told Fowler that he was struggling with the idea of why the courts couldn't trust the Legislature." No one trusts the legislature or Brownback. Kansas is fast becoming one the laughing stocks of America for not valuing education or our elderly.

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somebodynew 2 years ago

And if I were Nuss, I would believe that money will be there after the check clears. Particularly since O'Neal already told him to take it from somewhere else.

These guys/gals Are from the Gov't but I don't believe the check is in the mail.

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