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Archive for Thursday, April 11, 2002

junkets draw criticism

April 11, 2002

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— A state lawmaker Wednesday accused Kansas' adjutant general of taking legislators on junkets to gain support for funding projects in his agency.

"The people who are supporting those expenditures are going to be compensated for it," Rep. Carlos Mayans, R-Wichita, said while speaking to the full House.

Mayans' comment came during debate of legislation that would establish regional emergency management coordinators.

The bill would cost $400,000 Â with half of the amount coming from state revenues and half from the federal government. Mayans tried to change the bill in a way that would have taken state funds out of the measure. His amendment failed, and the House advanced the bill.

The adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Greg Gardner, was sitting 20 feet from Mayans when the legislator made the accusation against Gardner.

"It's baloney," Gardner responded.

Mayans said next week Gardner was taking with him to Germany a group of legislators who supported state funding of the regional centers.

Gardner confirmed he was taking a group of lawmakers to Germany on a five-day trip, but he said it had nothing to do with the legislation. He said he the trip let lawmakers visit Kansas National Guard troops and become familiar with what the Guard does.

"I try to get a mixture of Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate and men and women," he said.

Among them this year is Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.

"I just want to show that we appreciate the sacrifice that they are making," Sloan said.

He added that lawmakers have to pay for their own meals and lodging. And the trip on a refueling aircraft "was no American Airlines."

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