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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: It’s done

December 9, 2012

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When it was reported last week that incoming Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle wanted to reopen the issue of legislative redistricting, many Kansans may have hoped she wanted to look at a new system, perhaps a nonpartisan redistricting commission, that would lessen the possibility that the state would see a repeat of this year’s contentious process.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Instead, Wagle is interested in reconsidering the results of that process, which ended up with Kansas legislative and congressional districts being redrawn by a panel of federal judges after the governor and Legislature were unable to complete that task. Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce also raised the possibility of adjusting congressional districts.

Wagle told the Associated Press that she wanted to consult attorneys to determine what power the Legislature has to override the judges’ redistricting decisions.

“Why not try?” she said. “Nothing should be out of the realm of fixing.”

One reason not to try is the possibility that a renewed redistricting debate could be a big distraction from other important business facing the Legislature in the upcoming session, including the issue of how to deal with a huge revenue shortfall that’s expected to result from income tax reductions passed during the last session. The presence of conservative Republican majorities in both the House and Senate may mean there would be less dissension in a redistricting debate next year, but there are no guarantees.

The other question is what problem the Republicans would be trying to “fix.” As noted above, conservative Republicans now hold a majority of the state’s legislative seats, and redrawing districts would have the potential to upset that balance and perhaps damage the re-election chances of some new incumbents. If the Legislature goes too far in trying to gerrymander districts now held by Democrats, it also risks having the plan end up in court again, which would be both disruptive and costly for the state. The same would be true of trying to adjust congressional districts.

It’s unfortunate that legislators were unable to reach a redistricting agreement earlier this year, but the state has moved forward, accepted the new lines and elected its representatives. Why not just leave well enough alone? Whatever political agenda might be served by reopening this issue isn’t worth the potential upheaval and controversy it could cause.

Comments

Ken Lassman 2 years ago

Go ahead. Let them light this fire under the bridge. We need all the help we can to wake up Kansas citizens to who these folks are and what they're willing to do to our state in order to grab even more power. It already is going to be a very rough ride, but most folks will just sit back and watch unless they feel that the very bridge they walk on every day is being torched. This move to re-gerrymander our districts might actually make most folks take notice, which I sincerely hope Kansans do soon. It took Egyptians over 30 years of such flagrant anti-democratic behavior to rise up and throw off the moochers, but look at all of the pain they had to go through to get there.

So thanks, Dolph for disagreeing with Wagle's considering redistricting plans, but you didn't go far enough in your analysis. It's not that it's just an unnecessary task in a very busy session; it's not just a potential drain on the state budget if the results have to go to court. It is a fundamentally anti-democratic act of suppression that is designed to consolidate the power of the majority in ways that makes it almost impossible to mount any meaningful opposition to their power for the next 10 years. This is an assault against democracy, plain and simple, made by folks who apparently are insecure enough in their power that they don't want to face the feedback that a democracy provides: a fair election.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

You make very good points, but this was clearly not written by Dolph, who likely has very different opinions about gerrymandering Democrats and moderate Republicans out of office.

Ken Lassman 2 years ago

OK; the author of this piece is irrelevant to the critique this editorial, which still stands. Folks need to start waking up as to what a fundamentally anti-democratic impulse Wagle's intentions are.

Liberty275 2 years ago

If local government is too much at odds with itself, as government should most always be, then they forfeit the opportunity to make decisions like redistricting. The feds would probably do a better job anyway since they only have one house that can be affected by redistricting and so are likely to make more rational decisions.

Richard Crank 2 years ago

Didn't the same editorialist say in Nov. that we should vote all Republican? Ms. Wagle is just trying to force the same result on the whole state.

buffalo63 2 years ago

This is also the same women who went on O'Reilly to say KU was showing child porn in the Human Sexuality course, and now she is Senate President. Good job conservatives!

tomatogrower 2 years ago

What is she whining about? Didn't the conservatives win in this election? Even Lynn Jenkins won. Do the real work, Waggie. How are you going to follow the Kansas constitution that states you and your group are responsible for educating our Kansas citizens, without the money? Try answering that question. And here's another question: Where are all the jobs this tax bill was suppose to create? Waiting for an answer.

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