Kansas Judge Strikes Down PJ Pick Law
September 2, 2015

(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 Supremes Hear JoCo Same Sex Case in Private
November 17, 2014

The Kansas Supreme Court met in private Monday to consider whether or not Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty overstepped his authority in a same sex marriage case.
Kansas Attorney general Derek Schmidt’s office argues Moriarty had no authority to issue an order permitting Johnson County officials to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Schmidt’s office moved immediately to block Moriarty’s order and only a few marriage license applications were ever issued to Johnson County same-sex couples.
Marriages are being issued, however to same sex couples in Douglas and Sedgwick continues because those counties are involved in a separate samesex case at the federal level.
Moriarty made the order in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling striking down the constitutional bans on same sex marriage in Oklahoma and Utah. The 10th Federal Circuit did not strike down the Kansas constitutional ban, although the laws are similar.
University of Kansas Law Profession Rick Levy said the fact that the Justices did not hear oral arguments in the Johnson County case is not unusual.
“The main take-away may be the Justices don’t think they need oral arguments to decide the case. But that would imply they don’t think the case is especially difficult, either,” Levy told KMBC TV .
Levy also believes that the ruling from the Kansas justices will be quick, perhaps by the end of the week.
Levy, who’s expertise is constitutional law, says it is possible the Kansas High Court uses the Johnson County case to expand marriage rights for same sex couples to all 105 counties in Kansas.
“If that’s true for the counties other than Johnson–If that’s true for the counties other than Douglas and Segwick, the it’s true for Johnson County. Ad if it’s true for Johnson County, it could be true for all the counties in the state,” Levy said.

Another Big Year for Concealed Weapons Permits in Kansas
July 21, 2014

(AP) – The Kansas Attorney General’s Office says the state received the second highest number of concealed carry applications in the last fiscal year.

The attorney general announced in a news release Monday that more than 14,205 applications were received between July 1, 2013, and June 30 this year.

The highest number of applications in one fiscal year came in last year, when 25,316 applications were received.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says more than 83,000 Kansans currently have active concealed carry permits. The state has received 90,000 applications since 2006.

Kansas AG Schmidt Wants to Expand No-Call to Include Cell Phones
January 23, 2014

(AP) – Attorney General Derek Schmidt is proposing legislators expand the Kansas no-call registry to cover mobile devices to protect consumers from unwanted calls.

Schmidt announced the plan Wednesday with legislators, telecommunication providers and Kansas AARP.

The registry currently allows residents to list their numbers with the attorney general’ office if they wish not to be bothered by telemarketing calls. Federal law allows for any telephone number to be listed on a national database, but Schmidt and others aren’t certain if the Kansas law specifically allows for mobile numbers to be added to protect privacy.

The proposed bill would be narrowly drafted to clarify that mobile devices are covered by the act.

Violations of the act are enforced by the attorney general’s office.

Kansas Lays Out Rules for Taking Guns into Election Polls
November 28, 2013

(AP)–Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued guidance Wednesday on how the state’s concealed carry law applies to buildings used as polling places on election days.

In an opinion issued at the request of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Schmidt said voters with permits to carry concealed firearms must comply with regulations that applied to the specific location before an election. That means if voters are allowed to have a concealed weapon in a building before the election they will be allowed to carry concealed guns when voting.

“The use of real property as a polling place does not transform the nature of that property for the purposes of the (Personal and Family Protection Act),” Schmidt wrote.

Polling sites in Kansas are often found in places where guns are not usually allowed, such as churches, schools, universities and charity organizations. Guns also have been prohibited as a general rule from polling places to prevent voter intimidation or interference with elections.

Kobach requested the opinion, to clarify any ambiguity over how the law applied in non-governmental buildings during elections. Such buildings include property leased temporarily as polling places.

“We expected that the ruling would be very detailed and depend on the circumstances,” Kobach said. “That’s because the concealed carry laws are detailed and depend on the circumstances.”