Weekly Rundown #34

Friday, November 8, 2019

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Rundown – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the Kansas Legislature. What are we focused on this week? The 2019 elections, funding for local transportation projects, and more!

2019 LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS

  • What’s happening?

Kansans voted in the 2019 elections for local offices on Tuesday. In the most high-profile race of the night, Democratic Rep. Brandon Whipple ousted incumbent Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell by a 10-point margin.  In Johnson County, challengers defeated incumbents on the county water board and in the Overland Park, Olathe, Prairie Village, Shawnee, and Fairway city governments. In Johnson County alone, women running for office for the first time defeated more than a dozen incumbents.

Kansas voters also amended the state constitution to no longer remove some college students and military members from Census results before drawing legislative districts. The proposal faced no organized opposition, winning 60% of the vote. The move will likely benefit areas of the state with high numbers of students, such as Lawrence and Manhattan.

22 LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS GAIN FUNDING

  • What’s happening?

The Kansas Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced 22 projects receiving partial state funding. The department hopes the $39 million provided to local government bodies through the Cost Share Program will help improve safety, mobility, congestion, and job retention. The funding makes up a chunk of the total $74 million needed to complete the projects.

Gov. Laura Kelly: “These projects demonstrate communities’ commitments to improve the quality of life for their citizens and to do so in a practical manner. This program also demonstrates the great things that happen when communities and the state work together.”

SENATE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CONFIRMS CORRECTIONS SECRETARY

  • What’s happening?

The Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee approved Jeff Zmuda to serve as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections on Tuesday. Zmuda previously served as the chief of prisons in Idaho, where he oversaw prison operations for nine state-run facilities, including public safety initiatives, security protocols and practices, mental health care and treatment, education services, and re-entry programs.

Gov. Laura Kelly: “I appreciate the Senate committee’s action in approving Secretary Zmuda and the appointments of Kansans who are all well qualified and committed to public service. It’s truly an outstanding group, and I look forward to seeing the work they do in helping to move our state forward.”

Zmuda joins other appointments to state agencies and boards approved by the committee who will later be voted on by the full Senate for final approval in the 2020 legislative session.

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