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YMCA
election 2017

Kansas Senate leader: Governor should boost prison pay now

Associated Press - August 9, 2017 10:30 pm

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

The Kansas Senate’s top Republican is calling on GOP Gov. Sam Brownback to give corrections officers at state prisons an immediate pay increase.

Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita issued a statement Wednesday urging Brownback to take executive action. She toured the El Dorado Correctional Facility with hometown Republican Sen. Bruce Givens.

The Department of Corrections has confirmed three inmate disturbances at the El Dorado prison in May and June and a pair of inmate-on-inmate stabbings July 28. The prison is struggling with an annual turnover rate among uniformed officers of 46 percent. They are sometimes working 16-hours shifts because of staffing shortages.

Wagle said she would leave the size of the pay increase to Brownback and Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood. She said lawmakers could cover the cost next year.