An Act concerning mediation; relating to disputes which may be ordered to mediation;
relating to certain costs of mediation; amending K.S.A. 44-817 and K.S.A. 2000 Supp.
5-501 and 5-509 and repealing the existing sections.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:

      Section  1. K.S.A. 2000 Supp. 5-501 is hereby amended to read as
follows: 5-501. (a) K.S.A. 2000 Supp. 5-501 through 5-516, and amend-
ments thereto, shall be known and may be cited as the dispute resolution

      (b) The dispute resolution act shall apply to registered and approved
programs and individuals, and personnel thereof, to parties to dispute
resolution being conducted by registered programs and individuals, and
to disputes referred by a court, by state government or as otherwise pro-
vided by statute to dispute resolution other than litigation. The dispute
resolution act shall not apply to any judge acting in an official capacity.

      Sec.  2. K.S.A. 2000 Supp. 5-509 is hereby amended to read as fol-
lows: 5-509. (a) The following types of cases may be accepted for dispute
resolution by an approved program or individual:

      (1) Civil claims and disputes, including, but not limited to, consumer
and commercial complaints, disputes involving allegations of shoplifting,
disputes between neighbors, disputes between business associates, dis-
putes between landlords and tenants, disputes involving matters under
the small claims procedure act, farmer-lender disputes, and disputes
within communities;

      (2) disputes concerning child custody, residency, visitation rights,
parenting time and other areas of domestic relations;

      (3) juvenile offenses and disputes involving juveniles;

      (4) disputes between victims and offenders, in which the victims vol-
untarily agree to participate in mediation;

      (5) disputes involving allegations of unlawful discrimination under
state or federal laws;

      (6) disputes referred by county attorneys or district attorneys;

      (7) disputes involving employer and employee relations under K.S.A.
72-5413 through 72-5432, and amendments thereto, or K.S.A. 75-4321
through 75-4337, and amendments thereto; and

      (8) disputes referred by a court, an attorney, a law enforcement of-
ficer, a social service agency, a school or any other interested person or
agency, including the request of the parties involved. Upon finding that
alternatives to litigation may provide a more appropriate means to resolve
the issues in a case and that the costs of the dispute resolution process are
justified relative to the parties' ability to pay such costs, a judge may order
the parties to the case to participate in a settlement conference or a non-
binding dispute resolution process conducted by: (1) A program or indi-
vidual approved pursuant to rules of the supreme court adopted pursuant
to the dispute resolution act; or (2) an individual licensed to practice law
in the state of Kansas.

      (b) A case may be referred prior to the commencement of formal
judicial proceedings or may be referred as a pending court case. If a court
refers a case, information shall be provided to the court as to whether an
agreement was reached and, if available, a copy of the signed agreement
shall be provided to the court.

      (c) Before the dispute resolution process begins, the neutral person
conducting the process shall provide the parties with a written statement
setting forth the procedures to be followed.

      New Sec.  3. (a) The avoidance of mediation ordered pursuant to
K.S.A. 5-509, and amendments thereto, without just cause or excuse, shall
constitute evidence of bad faith.

      (b) Upon a finding that a party to a dispute has acted in bad faith by
deliberately and intentionally avoiding mediation, the court may order
such party to pay the reasonable attorney fees of the other party or parties
which are directly related to the mediation.

      Sec.  4. K.S.A. 44-817 is hereby amended to read as follows: 44-817.
(a) The secretary of human resources shall have power to appoint any
competent, impartial, disinterested person to act as mediator in any labor
dispute either upon the secretary's own initiative or upon the request of
one of the parties to the dispute. It shall be the function of such mediator
to bring the parties together voluntarily under such favorable auspices as
will tend to effectuate settlement of the dispute, but neither the mediator
nor the secretary of human resources shall have any power of compulsion
in mediation proceedings. The secretary of human resources or the sec-
retary's designee shall provide necessary expenses for such mediators as
may be appointed, under reasonable compensation not exceeding $50 per
day for each such mediator, and be authorized to charge fees to the parties
for mediation, conflict resolution services or training programs contracted
for to be provided by the agency and shall prescribe reasonable rules of
procedure for such mediators. The costs for such mediation services shall
be allocated by the secretary or the secretary's designee.

      (b) All verbal or written information transmitted between any party
to a dispute and a mediator conducting the proceeding, or the staff of an
approved program under K.S.A. 5-501 et seq. and amendments thereto
shall be confidential communications. No admission, representation or
statement made in the proceeding shall be admissible as evidence or
subject to discovery. A mediator shall not be subject to process requiring
the disclosure of any matter discussed during the proceedings unless all
the parties consent to a waiver. Any party, including the neutral person
or staff of an approved program conducting the proceeding, participating
in the proceeding has a privilege in any action to refuse to disclose, and
to prevent a witness from disclosing, any communication made in the
course of the proceeding. The privilege may be claimed by the party or
anyone the party authorizes to claim the privilege.

      (c) The confidentiality and privilege requirements of this section shall
not apply to:

      (1) Information that is reasonably necessary to establish a defense for
the mediator or staff of an approved program conducting the proceeding
in the case of an action against the mediator or staff of an approved
program that is filed by a party to the mediation;

      (2) any information that the mediator is required to report under
K.S.A. 38-1522 and amendments thereto;

      (3) any information that is reasonably necessary to stop the commis-
sion of an ongoing crime or fraud or to prevent the commission of a crime
or fraud in the future for which there was an expressed intent to commit
such crime or fraud; or

      (4) any information that the mediator is required to report or com-
municate under the specific provisions of any statute or in order to comply
with orders of the court.

 Sec.  5. K.S.A. 44-817 and K.S.A. 2000 Supp. 5-501 and 5-509 are
hereby repealed.
 Sec.  6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
publication in the statute book.

Approved May 9, 2001.