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Archive for Saturday, March 30, 2002

Unless Senate changes latest map, governor vows to veto redistricting

March 30, 2002

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— Gov. Bill Graves said Friday he would veto the latest Senate redistricting bill unless changes were made, but one of the map's creators said no revisions are planned.

The latest map, like an earlier version vetoed by Graves, was drawn by a coalition of conservative Republicans and the Senate's minority Democrats. The Senate Reapportionment Committee endorsed it Thursday.

Graves said the new map represented progress but that he would not sign it without what he characterized as minor changes.

"There are a small number of additional improvements that can be made that didn't get done in committee," Graves said.

"There are senators that have been engaged in discussions that understand what it takes to finalize this map, and I believe they'll do it," he said.

But Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said the coalition has no plans to amend the latest map because it answers all the concerns cited by Graves in vetoing the earlier version.

"I would be very disappointed if the governor vetoed this map," said Hensley, D-Topeka. "Once again a bipartisan group has put together a plan that should be signed into law by the governor."

The 21-member coalition came together on the issue of redrawing the boundaries of the Senate's 40 districts to reflect updated population figures.

In his veto message three weeks ago, Graves in part cited the way districts were redrawn in Johnson and Wyandotte counties and Topeka.

During a news conference Friday, he mentioned other objections: the addition of voting precincts in Lenexa to the district of Sen. Barbara Allen, R-Overland Park; the division of southern Leawood between a new Johnson County district and the one now represented by Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood; and the extension of a district for Sen. Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, into nine counties.

Graves said senators promised to change the map, but he would not provide more details.

Sen. Janis Lee, D-Kensington, a coalition member, said the newest proposal made changes designed to answer the objections Graves listed in his veto message.

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