Legislature losing a lot of expertise

Last week’s meeting of the 15-member Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight, which looked at a Legislative Post Audit report on the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka, highlighted how much expertise and institutional knowledge were lost in the 2012 legislative elections. The panel’s chairman and vice chairwoman, Sen. Pete Brungardt of Salina and Rep. Pat Colloton of Leawood, were both ousted by conservative challengers in the governor’s moderate purge in the GOP primary, as were committee members Sen. Dick Kelsey of Goddard (who has experience in juvenile justice issues) and Sen. Tim Owens of Overland Park. And Sen. Kelly Kultala, D-Kansas City, who had requested the audit, lost in the general election, as did Rep. Jana Goodman, R-Leavenworth. Between the court-ordered redistricting plan and GOP primary turnover, the Legislature will have more than 50 new members in 2013.