Topeka A plan to place Lawrence in one U.S. House district — the 2nd — is forming in the Legislature.
“Basically, it corrects a wrong decision made 10 years ago,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka.
The Senate redistricting committee is scheduled to meet Monday and may vote on a proposed congressional district map that would consolidate Lawrence into the 2nd U.S. District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka.
Currently, east Lawrence is in the 3rd Congressional District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, and west Lawrence is in the 2nd.
Hensley said the Legislature’s splitting of Lawrence between the 2nd and 3rd districts in 2002 was an injustice.
House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said, “Lawrence probably needs to go into the 2nd District.” He said that will preserve the 3rd District as a Kansas City-metro district.
Davis said that many in Lawrence were unhappy when the city was split 10 years ago but that it hasn’t turned out as bad as people thought it would.
In fact, he said, it has probably benefitted Lawrence in some ways to have two representatives.
Consolidating Lawrence into one House district has more to do with a proposal by Senate Redistricting Chairman Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, to move Manhattan and Fort Riley from the 2nd into the 1st District, which is in need of population. Moving Manhattan and Fort Riley means more people must be shifted into the 2nd.
Every 10 years, the Legislature redraws district lines to even out population shifts and make the districts as equal in population as possible.
The congressional districts in Kansas should be as close to 713,280 in population as possible, but currently:
• The 1st District is 57,970 people under the ideal size.
• The 2nd is 3,233 under the ideal size.
• The 3rd has 54,289 more people than the ideal size.
• The 4th has 6,912 more than is ideal.