TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Chief Justice of the State of Kansas Marla Luckert spoke to the State of the Judiciary Tuesday calling the state resilient when faced with hardship.

Judge Luckert thanked her family, then acknowledged the losses through death and disability of those that were lost to COVID-19.

Sadly, as in 2020, the judicial branch suffered losses, through death and disability, of co-workers and loved ones to COVID. I want to offer a special tribute to the employees we lost, their loved ones, and those who felt the pain of losing a co-worker. Despite the heavy toll, a resilient spirit came through.

Chief Justice Marla Luckert

Luckert recalled the Dust Bowl that affected the state in the 1930s and compared that resiliency to what Kansas has come through since the start of the pandemic.

“I am very proud and grateful for the extraordinary work and heavy lifting is done by
our judges, staff, and justice partners this last year,” Luckert said.

Luckert addressed stagnant and under-market pay that she remarked, “plagued the judicial branch” and needed to be addressed to help retain and attract employees.

Luckert gave examples of how the court is responding to expectations and increasing the online experience.

“As one example of our newly developed technology, we are piloting an app that asks questions about a traffic citation and generates a “traffic pass” that instructs how to resolve the citation based on the answers provided. Given the success of our pilot, we hope to soon expand the use of this app in other parts of the state,” Luckert said. “

“Another innovation in online access is a web portal that allows Kansans to apply for protection from abuse orders. Within six months of statewide use, half of all protection orders are being filed through the portal. These applicants usually lack help from an attorney. And, because of their circumstances, they often find it difficult—or even unsafe—to come to the courthouse. The portal eases those burdens,” Luckert said.

Luckert praised efforts to increase remote hearings, saying online hearings have allowed many Kansans to attend court without needing to take a day off work, benefitting the business community.

“Those in the judicial branch are thankful to have legislative leaders and a governor who understand what happens in our courts and who understand that courts protect and strengthen Kansans, their businesses, and their communities,” Luckert said.