Daily Archives: April 21, 2010

Brownback’s approval rating drops in poll

US NEWS BROWNBACK 1 KRTWhat’s up with Sen. Sam Brownback?

Better question: What’s down with the senator?

We know one thing that’s down: His poll numbers.

SurveyUSA’s latest has him at 41 percent approving of the job he’s doing as a U.S. senator … and 47 percent disapproving.

That’s the first time SurveyUSA has had him upside down since November 2007. And it’s only the second time since May 2005.

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UPDATED: Senate looking to fill a $412 million budget hole

Kansas capital

TOPEKA – After two-and-a-half-days of wrestling with the revenue numbers, a Senate panel is close to wrapping up work on the 2011 budget.

When members started on Monday, the budget proposal cut about $100 million from state spending and had needed a little more than $350 million in revenue increases to fill the remaining gap.

Since then, senators on the Ways and Means Committee have added money back in bit by bit, so the current revenue shortfall is $412 million.

About $40 million of that is money lawmakers added back in, said committee Chairman Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg.

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County steps in to plug state funding gap for probation services

State budget reductions have affected Sedgwick County Community Corrections’ intensive probation services for felony offenders, its director told commissioners this morning.

Commissioners voted to move $316,608 from the day reporting center contract to adult intensive supervision to get the program through the rest of stateĀ  fiscal year 2010, which ends June 30.

Director Mark Masterson said that state budget cuts “resulted in too high caseholds, service reductions, less face-to-face time with clients . . . increases in jail and prison admissions and recidivism.”

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District attorney’s office to hire third staffer to handle journal entries

jailinmatepicSedgwick County will hire a third staff person to handle journal entries for jail inmates headed to prison.

The Wichita Eagle reported in January that journal entries — paperwork required before an inmate can be transferred to prison that includes criminal history and sentencing information — were taking an average 60 to 90 days to be filed. That meant jail inmates were staying in jail weeks after their sentencing to prison, further affecting jail overcrowding.

In response to the story, Sedgwick County District Court Chief Judge James Fleetwood met with other judges to try to reduce the turnaround time by making sure prosecutors know the reports are a priority. The district attorney’s office is now taking about two weeks to write the reports. By adding a third staff person, the office believes it can complete the reports in about a week.

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County commissioners to send letter to president supporting Boeing tankers

Sedgwick County commissioners this morning passed a resolution urging the U.S. government to have Boeing build aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force.

The resolution says that Boeing has built and maintained refueling tankers for the Air Force for 60 years, the tankers will meet Air Force requirements and incorporate new technology, and they are safe and survivable in combat. A Boeing contract also would also create or retain 50,000 jobs, including jobs in Kansas, the resolution says.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to the president, the secretary of defense, top leaders in Congress and members of the Kansas congressional delegation.