TOPEKA—The Kansas Rural Justice Initiative Committee will be in Great Bend August 24 and 25 for a community welcome event and committee meeting.
Chief Justice Marla Luckert created the committee in December 2022 to examine unmet legal needs in rural Kansas related to a shrinking number of attorneys living and working in rural areas.
Justice K.J. Wall of the Kansas Supreme Court chairs the committee. He said the committee is visiting Great Bend on the invitation of Representative Tory Marie Blew, who represents District 112 in the Kansas House of Representatives. Blew also serves on the committee.
"We want to hear from those who best understand the issue—attorneys and community leaders living and working in rural Kansas," Wall said. "Their knowledge and experience will help us identify meaningful initiatives to tackle the problem. We thank Rep. Blew and the Great Bend community for their hospitality.”
Wall, who grew up in Scott City, said he looks forward to the visit and hopes people from the area will come to a welcome event to meet the committee and informally share their thoughts.
Community welcome August 24
The committee will gather for a community welcome from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 24, at Dry Lake Brewing, 1305 Main Street, Great Bend. Residents of Great Bend and surrounding communities are invited to attend to meet committee members, learn about the committee's work, and share their thoughts.
Committee meeting August 25
The committee will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. August 25 at the Holiday Inn Express, 3821 10th Street, Great Bend. A limited number of seats will be available for guests.
The committee's agenda for the meeting includes a community roundtable discussion, during which legal professionals from the area will discuss how the attorney shortage has impacted their community.
The meeting will also include reports from subcommittees tasked with information and data gathering, attorney recruitment and retention, and initiatives and solutions, whether implemented by the judicial branch, the Kansas Legislature, or communities.
The committee has 18 months from its inception at the end of 2022 to submit its initial recommendations to the Supreme Court. Recommendations could include proposals to change laws, regulations, or rules to make attorney services more available. They could also include best practices to make it easier to meet legal needs across Kansas.
The 35-member committee includes representatives from all three branches of state government, the legal and business communities, law schools, and various nonprofit organizations.