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1-501. Peer review; firm registration; board oversight; waivers; privileged information; closed sessions of the board; immunity. (a) The board may require as a condition for renewal of a firm registration that a firm that provides attest services undergo a peer review and submit evidence of such so that the board may determine the degree of the firm's compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, generally accepted auditing standards and other similarly recognized authoritative technical standards. The reviews shall occur at least once every three years with the cost of such review to be borne by the firm.

(b) Upon the issuance of the first report subject to peer review, a firm shall immediately notify the board on a form provided by the board; register as a firm in compliance with K.S.A. 1-308, and amendments thereto; and provide a peer review letter of completion to the board within 18 months after the date on which the report subject to peer review was issued.

(c) A firm's completion of a peer review program endorsed or supported by the AICPA or other substantially similar programs shall satisfy the requirements of this section. The board shall provide for oversight of these programs by adoption of rules and regulations.

(d) A firm may request in writing upon forms provided by the board, a waiver from the review requirement. The board may grant a waiver if the firm does not perform or has not performed any attest services during the twelve-month period preceding the date of application or for good cause as determined by the board.

A firm granted a waiver on the basis that the firm does not perform or intend to perform attest services shall immediately notify the board if the firm engages in such practice and thus becomes subject to the review.

(e) Except as provided by K.S.A. 60-437, and amendments thereto, and subsections (f) and (h) of this section, any reports, statements, memoranda, transcripts, findings, records, or working papers prepared and any opinions formulated, in connection with any peer review shall be privileged and shall not be subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion for their release to any person or entity or be admissible in evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding, except that such privilege shall not exist when the material in question is involved in a dispute between a reviewer and the person or firm being reviewed.

(f) Nothing in subsection (e) shall limit the authority of the board to require a person whose work is the subject of a peer review or a firm to provide a copy of an adverse or modified peer review report and any responses to report deficiencies from the person or firm and any document identifying follow-up requirements for the purpose of determining the person's or firm's compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, generally accepted auditing standards and other similarly recognized authoritative technical standards, provided however, the board may not request or require a person or firm subject to a peer review to provide a peer review report or any other document contained in this section unless the peer review report has been accepted by a report acceptance committee under the peer review program after December 31, 2001.

(g) After considering AICPA standards on peer review, the board may define, by rules and regulations, the terms "modified" and "adverse."

(h) In any proceeding before the board in which discussion or admission into evidence of peer review report documents identified in subsection (f) is proposed, the board or presiding officer shall conduct that portion of the proceeding in closed session. In closing a portion of such proceeding, the board or presiding officer may exclude any person from the proceeding except the person whose work is the subject of peer review, members of the permit holder's firm, the attorneys representing the parties, the board's attorneys, necessary witnesses and a court reporter. The board or presiding officer shall make the portions of the agency record in which such documents are disclosed subject to a protective order prohibiting further disclosure. Documents that are privileged under subsection (e) and that are considered during a closed proceeding shall not be subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion for their release to any person or entity. No person in attendance at a closed portion of such proceeding shall at a subsequent civil, criminal or administrative hearing, be required to testify regarding the existence or content of a document privileged under subsection (e) which was disclosed in a closed portion of a proceeding, nor shall such testimony be admitted into evidence in any subsequent civil, criminal or administrative hearing. All other evidence shall be presented as part of the proceeding in an open meeting. Offering any testimony or records in the open portion of a proceeding shall not be deemed a waiver of the peer review privilege created in subsection (e).

(i) No person who participates in the conduct of any peer review within the scope of this section shall be liable in damages to any person for any action taken or recommendation made in connection with the peer review process.

History: L. 1987, ch. 2, § 1; L. 1990, ch. 2, § 1; L. 1993, ch. 103, § 3; L. 2001, ch. 120, § 6; L. 2007, ch. 97, § 11; L. 2009, ch. 38, § 14; Apr. 2.

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