Archive for Monday, March 16, 2015

Lawmaker suggests school finance case could affect judicial budget

March 16, 2015, 3:04 p.m. Updated March 16, 2015, 10:23 p.m.


— A member of the House Appropriations Committee suggested Monday that the budget for the state court system could suffer if the courts order the Legislature to spend more money on public schools.

Rep. Jerry Lunn, R-Overland Park, made the comment to Judge Daniel Creitz, of Iola, who had testified about the judicial branch's budget on behalf of the Kansas District Judges Association.

"Judge, this three-judge panel is on record saying that we should probably put somewhere in the neighborhood of $550 million — I’ve heard it go much, much higher," Lunn said. "Do you think that should have any ramifications on sections of government other than K-12, for example the judiciary?"

He was referring to a 2013 decision by a panel presiding over a school finance lawsuit that held that school funding in place at that time was unconstitutionally low. The panel ordered the Legislature to increase base per-pupil funding and other types of school aid.

The Kansas Supreme Court later overturned part of that ruling and remanded the case for a new proceeding by the panel.

On Friday, though, the House passed a bill to fundamentally change the way schools are funded, even though the lawsuit challenging the adequacy of state funding is still in court. The three-judge panel indicated Friday that it might move to block the Legislature from making fundamental changes in the finance formula.

Creitz replied that it would be a violation of judicial ethics for him to comment on a pending case.

"I don’t need for you to comment on the case," Lunn continued. "But if we are in a position, or if we’re put in a position to have to fund that, you would fully expect the judiciary to share in that pain?"

"That would be your decision," Creitz replied. "I can’t give you an advisory opinion on all the procedures that could be involved in that."

Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, a retired judge who now chairs the House Judiciary Committee, stepped in to stop the exchange.

"A lot of folks don’t understand, we’re bound by judicial ethics and we cannot comment (or make) derogatory comments about another judge or whether he made a right or wrong (decision)," Barker said. "He’s right on that day until he’s overturned by an appellate court."

The committee is proposing to put the judiciary's budget in a separate bill from the rest of the state budget, a procedure that would allow them to tie the funding bill with various kinds of policy changes that would otherwise have to be run as separate legislation.

The panel is expected to start debating the judiciary budget Tuesday. That's when members can try to amend the bill before sending it to the full House for consideration.


Larry Sturm 3 years, 3 months ago

Talk about corruption in the Kansas legislature.

Larry Sturm 3 years, 3 months ago

I think we need an ethics investigation into the Kansas legislature and the governor's office buy the U S supreme court.

Larry Sturm 3 years, 3 months ago

Legislature trying to buy the court decision.

Greg Cooper 3 years, 3 months ago

Larry, you obviously have not heard that Legislative blackmail is quite legal in Kansas. How dare you denigrate the wise and learned men and women in the Kansas Legislature! A pox on you.

Tracy Rogers 3 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like someone needs to show Jerry Lunn a dictionary and have him look up blackmail.

And why oh why do we keep putting these people back in office? And why is it, that the website doesn't list how long a representative has been in office? It used to have that information on each person.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Blackmail maybe ....... is Lunn bordering on extortion?

Jerry Lunn should be harshly reprimanded and put on leave without pay or voting privileges.

Ignorance is bliss.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

How many witnesses can we estimate viewed this exchange?

Randy Leonard 3 years, 3 months ago

Maybe he should go back to school and learn about the principle of checks and balances of the three branches our government. I guess he failed that class.

Phillip Chappuie 3 years, 3 months ago

Sounded like a threat to me. Blackmail or extortion, call it what you like. What we have is a PAC purchased legislature, a punk bully of a Governor and a I don't know exactly what for a Secretary of State. They will rubber stamp as instructed and stamp out all opposition. For those boys running the show right now, ethics is not high on their list.

Has Virgil Peck remitted back to the state the cost of that plane ride to and fro? More ethics issues. Brownback dispatching executive resources to influence the vote. But hey, #blowsalot picks on little girls.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Blackmail or extortion? maybe both. In order to make that call witnessing the entire exchange would be necessary.

Butttttt "Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, a retired judge who now chairs the House Judiciary Committee, stepped in to stop the exchange."

Apparently wanted to put out the fire however it might not have been soon enough.

David Bishop 3 years, 3 months ago

May I suggest that in addition to commenting here you email your disgust to Mr. Lund directly. His email address at the state house is His business address is

Scott Bonnet 3 years, 3 months ago

This state legislature and governor are an embarrassment. They rule by threat and reprisal. Shame on the voters that re-elected them.

Paul R Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

Judges might soon find horse heads in their beds. Sam's Muscular Jesus Mafia?

Lynn Grant 3 years, 3 months ago

And he represents the responsible, righteous, holier than thou, majority party! Wow.

Tyler Palmer 3 years, 3 months ago

This is why low voter turnout in elections hurts. When most of the people voting are the radicalized fringes motivated by FUD and misinformation and the moderate majority simply can't be bothered to participate in elections, we end up with a governor and legislators like we have here in Kansas.

Larry Sturm 3 years, 3 months ago

Along with cutting the judicial budget they should cut the governor's and also the legislature also after all they they are the people that caused the problem in the first place.

Lawrence Freeman 3 years, 3 months ago

The judicial branch does have countermeasures. They could order the early release of non-violent prisoners. Close down courts, starting in Overland Park, Wichita and rural areas. Possibly throw out cases because a defendants right to a speedy trial has been compromised.

Don't forget when the legislature was unable to agree on redistricting, the court stepped in and did it for them.

Jim Slade 3 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like a quid pro quo scenario and abuse of authority.

Isn't Texas Governor being investigated for something very similar to this? Wanting an elected individual to resign over a DUI but when she refused he took away her department's budget...

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