TOPEKA, Kan. (CAPITOL BUREAU) – While Governor Brownback’s nomination to serve as ambassador for international religious freedom is gaining momentum in D.C. – clearing a Senate committee for a second time – some politicians are frustrated.
“It’s just another example of how this whole appointment process with him has gotten in the way of his official responsibilities as the Governor of Kansas,” said State Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topkea.
At the state capitol, some lawmakers express their disappointment with the Governor’s decision to postpone a final vote on the proposal to rebuild the Lansing prison.
“You can’t pull the rug out from everybody because you don’t have the votes,” explained Hensley.
Brownback and the top eight legislative leaders were scheduled to vote on his administration’s prison proposal Thursday morning, but five minutes before the meeting a statement was sent out which said the meeting was postponed due to continued information gathering.
“Obviously, there may have been an issue of the number of Yes and No votes and maybe that was concern of why the Governor canceled the meeting,” said State Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill.
Under the proposal, the state would pay about $360-million over a 20-year period to lease the facility from CoreCivic. After the lease is up the state would own it.
Waymaster explained he was going to vote yes, adding that postponing the vote could end up costing the state more money.
“They’ve already pre-contracted some of the materials and if we delay this any further it may actually cost the state more because the price of the contract will go up because they have to go out and re-bid on those materials,” said Waymaster.
Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said he was still undecided on how he was going to vote.
“I wasn’t ready to commit, but I don’t think that’s unusual with a big project like this,” said Denning, R-Overland Park.
A spokesman for the Governor’s office said the proposal isn’t dead and a vote will be rescheduled.
If the finance council rejects the proposal it would go to the full legislature for consideration.
The Department of Corrections said if the proposal is rejected, it will request $12 million from the legislature for deferred maintenance.