Daily Archives: March 22, 2011

Senators voice approval for multimillion-dollar program to train more engineers

TOPEKA — The Senate has given tentative approval of a plan to provide state money to boost state universities’ output of engineers.

Senators voiced their approval for Senate Substitute for House Bill 2149, which sets aside millions of dollars in ongoing state funding for Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State universities. A roll call vote is expected Wednesday.

The goal is to increase the number of engineers churned out by state universities by 60 percent, said Sen. Carolyn McGinn who carried the bill on the floor.

She said the plan is to grant $4 million to the universities’ engineering programs in 2013 and $7 million a year in 2014 and beyond, McGinn said. Read More »

Revisiting Carlos Mayans’ mayor run, House votes to allow campaign funds to transfer from race to race

TOPEKA — House members today voted to allow themselves and other incumbent officeholders to use money from their existing campaign accounts to run for other offices.

Proponents argue that it’s a legitimate use of campaign money because contributors give to the person, not the office.

Opponents say such transfers give an unfair advantage to sitting office holders and open the door for political action committee and corporate donations in local races where they are now prohibited.

The issue has been bounced around Topeka since 2002, when then-Rep. Carlos Mayans transferred money from his legislative campaign account to run for mayor of Wichita.

His opponent, former City Council member Joan Cole sued and the state Supreme Court ruled such transfers are illegal.

Contacted today in Wichita, Mayans said he thinks the bill makes sense. “The fact of the matter is that the person contributes to the candidate,” Mayans said. Read More »

Firefighters union endorses candidates in 3 city races

The Wichita firefighters union endorsed Pete Meitzner in District 2, James Clendenin in District 3 and Joshua Blick in District 4, the union’s political action committee announced this afternoon.

The political action committee of the International Association of Firefighters  Local 135 plans to announce endorsements for mayor and District 5 after completing interviews with candidates in coming days.

“The FIREPAC’s selection of candidates to endorse was based solely upon our belief that the selected candidate would strongly support the safety and well being of all citizens of Wichita, including the Wichita firefighters,” the news release says. Read More »

Sedgwick County commissioner questions spending

Ranzau

Sedgwick County commissioner Richard Ranzau said he will be hard-pressed to continue to support other organizations and businesses with county money if the county has to lay off its own employees.

Ranzau specifically mentioned money the county gives to Wichita State University and Hawker Beechcraft as examples.

He said the county needs to protect its own services and employees before giving millions to others.

Ranzau said the county must take a hard look at everywhere it spends its money.

Ranzau made his remarks during commissioners’ weekly meeting with county staff.

He was quite emphatic during his comments, pointing his finger up in the air at one point.

Ranzau also has voted against applying for several grants paid for with federal money, saying that money is “pure debt” and a burden to future generations.

Brownback accepts key to the city, calls Wichita the ‘composites capital of the world’

Gov. Sam Brownback accepts the key to the city from Mayor Carl Brewer

Mayor Carl Brewer and the Wichita City Council honored Gov. Sam Brownback with a key to the city this morning.

The gesture is a way of thanking Brownback for his work as a U.S. Senator, Brewer said. Brownback has helped obtain funding for local flood prevention efforts, the Heartland Preparedness Center and other projects.

“The millions go on and on and on for the city of Wichita,” Brewer said.

Brownback joked that he would try the key out on a few doors. And he highlighted Wichita’s efforts to retain and grow its aviation industry. Read More »