The following was published January 28, 2016, by Wyandotte Daily Online:
State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., spoke on the Kansas Senate floor today about the necessity to uphold the separation between the different branches of government.
The Senate took action today to make sure the judiciary branch was funded. At issue was a law from the last session that would have withheld funds unless certain actions were taken by the judiciary.
On Dec. 23, the Kansas Supreme Court struck down a law telling the judiciary how to choose district judges, saying it was unconstitutional. Another law tied the court’s decision in this case to its funding.
Final action was taken today in the Kansas Senate, on a 39-1 vote, to reverse the legislative action taken last year. The action today received wide legislative support, and had been recommended by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt after the law was struck down.
Last year, legislators had passed a law that would allow judges in each district to choose the chief judge, instead of the present system of appointment by the Kansas Supreme Court.
A senator from Johnson County today voted no on today’s bill, explaining concerns about judicial overreach, a need for more judicial transparency in the selection process and a need to hold judges to a higher standard.
Sen. Haley said he was hoping in the future that the Legislature would not spend too much of its time trying to carve out how it can erode the autonomy of another distinct separate branch of the government.
“I have not always agreed as a legislator with our governors,” Sen. Haley said. “But I would not want to tread on the autonomy by trying to circumvent the constitutional duties of our governor, whether I agree with them or not, by cutting off their funding or any other way. I would hope the spirit of that would not be lost on any of us.
“I would hope that each of us would try and uphold the oath we took to work on behalf of all the people of the state and the autonomy of our three branches,” Sen. Haley said.
Paid for by Senate Democratic Committee, Will Lawrence, Treasurer