In this issue …
- Legislature continues work into another week
- Lawmakers scramble to deal with Supreme Court decision over Brighton practices
Legislature continues work into another week
Lawmakers continue into another week of the veto session, with one legislator who shall be nameless wondering on Facebook how much spare underwear to bring along. Answers ranged from between three to seven days.
Senate President Steve Morris (R-Hugoton) told reporters Friday he thought it could wind up by Wednesday.
The budget conference committee met Saturday, leaving most of the big issues for a 9 a.m. Monday morning meeting. The legislature only has to do the budget and redistricting, although there’s a growing feeling that the courts may ultimately pick the maps.
There is no indication yet if the Senate is willing to sit down and come up with a different income tax cut than the behemoth that was sent to the Governor last week. It projects a $2 billion-plus deficit by 2017.
The transportation coalition Economic Lifelines indicated growing concern in a newsletter last week about the income tax cut that passed, saying, “Given that transportation funds have been used to fill budget deficits repeatedly in the last 10 years, this projection is an enormous concern.”
Meanwhile, there was some good news for economic developers Friday as the Senate Ways & Means Committee passed HB 2561, which is a five year extension of the STAR bonds program. STAR bonds are Sales Tax Revenue Bonds that municipalities can use to finance major developments. Kansas City has used them successfully to develop the NASCAR track area and several other Kansas communities are using the program for projects. The measure goes to the full Senate for debate and a vote.
Lawmakers scramble to deal with Supreme Court decision over Brighton practices
A Kansas Supreme Court case has several business interests rushing to pass legislation to mitigate the decision. The case is O’Brien v. Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc.
Leegin is probably best known for its Brighton line of leather products and jewelry. Brighton (and Leegin) require agreements from retailers that they will not discount their products. The Kansas Supreme Court essentially ruled that was restraint of trade and illegal vertical price fixing.
The problem is that many consider these types of agreement standard business practice.
In a hearing Friday, Kansas University Law Professor Michael Hoeflich said, “I would say only that the position expressed by the Supreme Court in its recent opinion in O’Brien v. Leegin could be interpreted as holding that K.S.A. 50-101 creates an absolute legal ban on a broad range of standard business agreements, most of which have no harmful effects on the public but, on the contrary, are absolutely necessary to the proper functioning of business and industry in Kansas.”
The decision may have implication for agriculture interests, which appeared in support of the clarification. Opponents included grocers and Kansas trial lawyers.
The House Judiciary Committee took no action but is expected to meet on the matter again in the coming week.