Daily Archives: Dec. 16, 2009

Lawmakers propose commission to consider overhauling and closing state departments





Two state lawmakers are proposing to establish an independent commission to find ways to consolidate, overhaul or eliminate state departments.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Indendence, and Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R- Ozawkie, are proposing what they call a “BRAC” commission for state government.

BRAC is the acronym of the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which was empaneled by Congress to handle the politically delicate matter of identifying unneeded military bases to be shut down.

The commission proposed by Schmidt and Tafanelli would be called the Kansas Government Streamlining Commission.

Members would be appointed by legislative leadership and the governor and would be authorized to examine all aspects of state government.

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Democrat bows out of race for Kansas governor

Tom Wiggans is out of the race for Kansas governor, not even a month after he announced his campaign.

His departure leaves the Democrats without a major candidate – again – to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback.

Here’s the announcement:

“For a candidate who has recently returned to his home state and who has never run for political office, it will take more time and resources than I can assemble to mount a winning campaign. While I have remained involved in many activities in the state over the past years, I have spent much of my business career away from home and thus am unknown to many voters and donors.”

Therefore I believe it is in the best interest of the voters for me to end my exploration of running for Governor and entering public service at this time, and instead offer my ideas and experience to state leaders, institutions, and companies and focus my energies on creating new jobs and a strong economy for the future.”

The Democrat faced a tough race. Despite a long career in pharmaceuticals, Wiggans was little known in the state and faced a tough contender in Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback.

Wiggans’ departure leaves the Democrats with only one candidate, Herbert West III of Paola, who recently lost a campaign for Miami County sheriff.

Group pitches detention facility to Sedgwick County

WICHITA — Metropolitan Detention Kansas pitched a proposal this morning to build up to a 1,080-bed detention facility for Sedgwick County.

It would be a medium security and work release facility.

Under the proposal, Metropolitan Detention would pay for the facility and charge the county a daily fee per inmate.

There would be up to five pods with each pod housing 216 beds.

Commissioners plan to ask staff to look further into the proposal.

Gary O’Neal, chairman of Metropolitan, presented the plan.