July 20, 2024

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KS Chief Judge to Give State of the Judiciary Address Wednesday

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Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss will address the Kansas Legislature on Wednesday afternoon. He’ll give the State of the Judiciary at 3 p.m.

Former Speaker of the House Ray Merrick once turned down Nuss’s request to address lawmakers, but current House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr has extended an invitation to the Chief Justice for the last two years.

According to a press release, Nuss will update lawmakers on the current state of Kansas’ court system and its role in providing services to individuals and communities statewide.

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss

Last year, Nuss used part of his speech as a plea for additional court funding for pay raises, and this year could be a repeat. He said the judiciary is losing efficiency through increased employee turnover.

“Besides retirement, these losses are primarily because of low compensation,” Nuss told the legislature last year. He said Kansas district judge pay ranks 45th in the nation when adjusted for cost of living.

State employees received a 2.5 percent raise for FY 2018, but according to a compensation study by the judicial branch, judge pay remains below the national average. In a supplemental funding request, the judiciary seeks $17.7 million more in FY 2019 in order to increase pay to market level. That would offer pay increases of up to 21 percent for some positions.

Nuss’ 2018 speech will be broadcast on the Kansas Legislature website at 3 p.m. on January 17. A written copy of his address will be available online following the speech.

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