Friday, September 6, 2013

Senate approves three to Kansas Board of Regents

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

TOPEKA, KAN. — Without debate, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gov. Sam Brownback's appointments of three people to the Kansas Board of Regents.

Shane Bangerter, an attorney from Dodge City; Ann Brandau-Murguia, commissioner on the Kansas City, Kan. governing board; and Helen Van Etten, an audiologist with the Topeka school district, all were approved by wide margins.

They were selected by Brownback in June to serve four-year terms on the nine-member board, which oversees a system of 32 public higher education institutions, including seven universities, 19 community colleges, and six technical colleges.

Bangerter's appointment had earlier drawn criticism from Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, who said Bangerter changed his party status in order to serve on the board.

Under state law, the nine-member board can have no more than five members of one party. Hensley said there already were five Republicans on the board.

Bangerter, a longtime Republican Party activist, changed his party affiliation from the GOP to unaffiliated.

During a committee hearing, when Hensley asked Bangerter when he changed to unaffiliated, Bangerter said he thought it was nine or 10 months ago, but according to the Ford County clerk, it was in February.

On Wednesday, Bangerter was approved 35-5; Murguia, 37-3; and Van Etten, 37-3. Only Democrats voted against the nominations.