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Nov. 24, 2017
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Minutes for SB10 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Lien filings against public officials; prohibitions; notice; criminal penalties.

Minutes Content for Thu, Jan 19, 2017

Jason Thompson, Senior Assistant Revisor,  gave a brief bill brief on SB 10. He took us through section one, which amends K.S.A. 58-4301 that provides for an expedited process to review and determine the validity of liens and claims against real or personal property.  He added that K.S.A. 58-4302 provides for civil action, however the new section two now introduces a criminal aspect. He then stood for questions.

After a brief question and answer period, Mr. Thompson concluded his brief reminding the committee about the bed impact statement found within their packets.

Chairman Wilborn asked for other questions, and seeing none, moved on to the next order of business.

Proponents:

Amanda Stanley, on behalf of the League of Kansas Municipalities gave testimony in support of the SB 10, (Attachment 1)saying it would deter individuals from filing fictitious liens against city employees and city officials in retaliation for legitimate exercises of municipal authority. She added that the bill also adds necessary criminal penalties to dissuade fictitious filings.

Chairman Wilborn asked for questions and, seeing none, moved on to next presenter.

Ed Klumpp, gave testimony in support of the SB 10 (Attachment 2), saying that it will help to deter criminals from filing false liens and save time and money for victims of the crime.  He went on to say this is a very important matter for them because people come in and file liens, however, there is no mechanism in place to notify an individual that there has been a lien filed against that individual's property. He went on to use an example of a public official who tries to sell their house.  At that time, he explained, the title insurance company informs the official they have a lien and now can not sell it until the matter is resolved.  He concluded by saying that to create this criminal statute is a huge step forward in deterring criminals who are trying to intimidate, harass, and drive people out of public service. Mr. Klumpp then stood for questions.

After a brief question and answer period, Chairman Wilborn moved on to the next speaker.

Steve Phillips, gave testimony (Attachment 3) in support of SB 10.  He explained that there are fictitious liens being filed by convicted murderers who seek retribution; thereby filing fictitious liens against prosecutors and judges.  He also provided an article showing Nebraska protecting their public officials from this type of activity.  In addition, Mr. Phillips said that he has lifted these liens for officials, judges, court clerks and even the Governor; adding "It's a very real problem."  He mentioned that Kansas' statues in 2010 were amended to add a provision for damages and attorney's fees. He said that the problem with this, is that those people that file the liens are typically judgment proof. In addition, he addressed the Committee's previous questions. He concluded his speech by addressing concerns about the language of the bill affecting title insurers, by saying that making changes in the wording should not be an obstacle.

Chairman Wilborn clarified that the work the Attorney General's Office is doing with Kansas Land Title Association was moving forward, and Mr. Phillips said that everything was good.

During a brief question and answers period, Mr. Thompson clarified that the current language was defined for this specific section of the statute and therefore was not a broadening of the term 'public employee' for every statute. Also, questions about this statute being a duplication were addressed.

Chairman Wilborn asked for further questions, seeing none, he continued to the next order of business.

Opponents:

Chairman Wilborn directed the committee's attention to the written testimony (Attachment 4) opposing SB 10, submitted by Randall Barbour with the Kansas Land Title Association. In the letter, Mr. Barbour explains his position by saying there could be a possible unintended consequence in the wording of new section two; specifically where it creates a felony, for certain persons who "present to a recorder of record for filing", documents relating to public officials.

Chairman Wilborn also mentioned that the Kansas Land Title Association is currently working out the issues, and an amendment will likely be offered soon.  Seeing no further questions, he closed the hearing on SB 10, and adjourned the meeting at 11:01am.