TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss has told legislators that judicial branch employees are so underpaid that the problem threatens the state's ability to provide justice.

Nuss made an aggressive pitch for greater funding for the court system during his annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday to a joint session of the Legislature.

The chief justice's speech came a week after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback released budget proposals that did not include nearly $20 million in additional funds sought by the courts for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Nuss said the pay for all job classifications within the court system are below market rates and some by as much as 21 percent.

He said low pay has given Kansas courts an unusually high turnover rate.