Kansas Judge Strikes Down PJ Pick Law

September 2, 2015 - Leave a Response

(AP) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a judge’s ruling striking down an administrative policy for the state’s courts could jeopardize their funding.

But Schmidt said Wednesday that he’ll move to keep the courts open.

Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks ruled unconstitutional a law changing how chief judges for the trial courts pick judges in the state’s 31 judicial districts. Hendricks said the law interferes with the Kansas Supreme Court’s power to oversee the judiciary.

Lawmakers earlier this year tied the judiciary’s entire budget to preserving the policy.

The law says judges in each judicial district pick their chief judges, taking that power from the Supreme Court.

District Judge Larry Solomon of Kingman County challenged the statute. Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray said another lawsuit would be filed to protect funding for the courts

Kansas City’s New Red Light Camera Law Likely to be Tougher than Old One

September 2, 2015 - Leave a Response

Kansas City, Missouri is considering reinstating its red light camera law. If it does, the new law is likely to be tougher than the old one in several respects.

The City manager’s office and the legal City Hall have been considering this since the old red light camera laws in Missouri were overturned by the missouri Supreme Court last month.

“My concerns with that is how will affect the courts. Will it bog them down? Does it accomplish the outcomes we want to see? So there are some things to work thru as we’re going forward,” said Aliisa Canady, the Chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

Any revised red light camera law would have to clear Canady’s committee.

To comply with the Supreme Court opinion, a new red light camera law would probably have to take a photo that clearly shows the face of the driver, not just the license plate of the car.

Any new law would also have to make the penalties harsher.
In Kansas City, a red light camera conviction came with a $100 fine, but no points of the convicted motorist’s drivers license.

It now appears the comply, the conviction has to be reported to the state and points deducted from the drive’s license.

Any revised red light camera law would have to clear Canady’s committee.

So Canady, a former assistant prosecutor, and other members of the Public Safety Committee will have a large role to play in adopting a revised ordinance.

“I’m not interested in using this just to produce revenue. We have a lot of other ways to do that in Kansas City,” said council member Katheryn Shields.

“A lot of folks have talked about officer safety and driver safety. I think we really need to look into those things before doing something just because we have the technology,” added another member, Quinton Lucas.

Critics Charge Kobach’s Voter Law is Voter Repression

September 2, 2015 - Leave a Response

AP) – An American Civil Liberties Union attorney says Kansas law doesn’t give Secretary of State Kris Kobach the authority to remove thousands of names from the state’s voter registration rolls.
And another critic accused the Republican secretary of state Wednesday of trying to keep potential Democratic voters from casting ballots, which Kobach’s spokesman disputed.
ACLU of Kansas attorney Doug Bonney and Topeka National Organization for Women leader Sonja Willms said during a hearing that Kobach should drop a proposed administrative rule.
The rule would require county election officials to cancel incomplete registrations after 90 days. About 36,000 registrations are now incomplete. Most are because prospective votes have failed to document their U.S. citizenship.
Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said the rule would make administering voting more orderly

Stay on a Kansas Abortion Law Remains in Place for Now

September 2, 2015 - Leave a Response

AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court is refusing for now to review a district court judge’s order blocking the nation’s first ban on a common second trimester procedure.
The high court’s 4-3 decision this week means that the state Court of Appeals first will handle a lawsuit filed by two abortion providers against a law that was supposed to take effect in July.
The law embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee and bans what abortion opponents call “dismemberment abortion.”
Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks in June temporarily blocked the law, and the state appealed.
Both sides wanted the Supreme Court to take the case immediately, but the court declined Monday without explanation. The Court of Appeals on Wednesday set an expedited schedule for its review

‘Right to Farm’ in Missouri Doesn’t Cover Pot

September 2, 2015 - Leave a Response

(AP) – A new constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to farm doesn’t protect a woman who reportedly grew marijuana in her home, a Missouri judge ruled this week.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled against a woman Tuesday whose public defender tried to argue that cultivating marijuana falls under the farming-rights amendment, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1O8OCcy).
Public defender Justin Carver argued that Green should set aside a grand jury indictment against Lisa A. Loesch. She was charged in 2012 after Jefferson City police arrested her for allegedly growing pot in her basement.
“The conduct alleged in the indictment, even if taken as true, does not give rise to an offense in that the conduct is protected by the Missouri Constitutional right-to-farm,” Carver wrote in an April motion.
Voters added the amendment, which states that “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state,” to the Missouri Constitution in August 2014.
Green ruled that the amendment only applies to livestock and “legitimate” crop cultivation, and even those practices still are subject to regulations.
The “argument that growing marijuana in a basement constitutes a ‘farming or ranching practice’ goes way beyond the plain meaning of ‘farming or ranching practice,'” Green wrote. “Simply put, marijuana is not considered a part of Missouri’s agriculture.”

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