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Archive for Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Senate remap plan passes without veto

April 3, 2002

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— A bipartisan Senate coalition held together Tuesday and attracted enough extra votes for a redistricting bill to persuade Gov. Bill Graves to withdraw a veto threat.

The bill redrawing the Senate's 40 districts passed 29-11 and went to the House, where debate is planned early next week.

Graves last week threatened to veto the measure unless it were revised. But he backed off Tuesday after the plan received two more votes than the 27 needed to override a veto.

The coalition entered Tuesday's debate with 21 solid votes  from its 11 conservative Republicans and 10 Democrats  and picked up eight more.

During debate Tuesday, the coalition blocked four amendments, so that the bill passed as it emerged last week from committee. Graves had vetoed an earlier Senate map supported by the coalition, which then made small revisions.

Late Tuesday, Graves spokesman Don Brown said the governor would sign the bill even though it didn't do everything he wanted.

Senate President Dave Kerr and several other senators met with the governor after the Senate vote.

"I think he was fully prepared to veto it, if necessary," said Kerr, R-Hutchinson.

Kerr said the new map has enough changes that he and other senators advised Graves against vetoing the measure. Kerr said the governor's first veto led to alterations that made the second redistricting proposal more acceptable.

Lawmakers are redrawing Kansas House, Kansas Senate, U.S. House and State Board of Education to account for shifts in population over the past decade.

Redistricting became especially contentious after the coalition stunned moderate Republicans in mid-February by presenting its favored map during Senate debate and pushing it to passage. Both the conservatives and Democrats said they were tired of being shut out of the process.

Moderate Republicans were unhappy with certain elements of the new plan, including its insertion of a new, seventh Senate district in Johnson County in a way that many believe would favor a GOP conservative.

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