Kansas Supreme Court

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House and Senate both approved budget plans this week, but neither one takes into account a court ruling on school funding. The Kansas Supreme Court said this week that Kansas hasn’t done enough to reduce funding disparities between districts.

Democratic Rep. John Carmichael argued the House shouldn’t have approved a budget that doesn’t deal with the financial implications of the ruling.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court says the state is not funding public schools fairly and has given the Legislature until the end of June to fix the problem. 

Republican Sen. Jeff Melcher criticized Thursday's ruling.

“It’s not unexpected. It’s essentially a temper tantrum by the courts to push their political will on the Legislature. It’s one of those things where ‘give us the money or the kid gets it,’” Melcher says.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita says lawmakers should immediately start working to address the problem.

Abigail Wilson


The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state's new block grant funding law does not meet the requirement for funding schools equitably.

In the nearly unanimous ruling, Kansas Supreme Court justices say that the state Legislature should get another opportunity to create a constitutional funding system. If there is no acceptable remedy in place by June 30, "the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate."

photo by By Chris Potter (Flickr: 3D Judges Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation to keep Kansas' courts open following a legal dispute involving their budget and the state Supreme Court's power.

Brownback signed the bill Monday, and it could take effect later this week. The measure repeals a 2015 law threatening the court system's budget.

That law said the judiciary's budget through June 2017 would be nullified if the courts struck down a 2014 law.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have changed how state Supreme Court justices are selected. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the plan would have given the governor the power to pick justices, subject to Senate confirmation.

Supporters of the change said it would put more power in the hands of Kansas voters and their elected officials, but the measure came up short of the 2/3 vote needed.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas House Wednesday advanced a bill changing the way state Supreme Court justices are selected. However, the measure came up short of the 2/3 majority it would ultimately need to pass during a final vote Thursday.

Critics of the current system say it isn’t democratic enough, because the nominees for the court are screened and selected by a commission. Republican Rep. James Todd is one of the supporters of changing the system.


Top Republicans in the Kansas House plan to test support this week for changing how state Supreme Court justices are selected.

House Speaker Ray Merrick said Monday that GOP leaders want to see "where people are" on the issue. House Republicans have scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday caucuses to discuss judicial selection.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has repeatedly called for changing how the justices are selected. He calls the current system undemocratic, but changing it will require amending the state constitution.

TMartin_33 / Flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court has struck down a Wichita ordinance allowing lessened penalties for marijuana possession.

The ballot initiative, which was approved in April 2015 by 54 percent of voters, was ruled “null and void” because the court said it was not filed correctly with the Wichita city clerk.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas House has passed a bill that would avoid a shutdown of the state courts. A legal dispute threatens to eliminate the budget for the court system in Kansas.

The court system budget was tied to another law, and when the Kansas Supreme Court struck down that law it also invalidated the entire judicial budget. The Supreme Court ruled lawmakers had violated the separation of powers.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas House and Senate committees moved quickly Thursday to keep funding intact for the Kansas courts. Lawmakers last year tied the judicial budget to another bill changing how chief judges are selected in Kansas judicial districts. When that law was struck down, it also invalidated the court budget, threatening to shut down Kansas courts.

The House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill that would reinstate the court funding. Republican state Rep. Ron Ryckman says they want to provide some certainty that the courts will stay open.