Topeka — Two congressional redistricting maps emerged Monday, and legislators working on the boundaries said there was a lot to dislike about both of them.
In both plans, Lawrence would be consolidated into the 2nd U.S. House District. Lawrence is now split between the 2nd and 3rd districts.
Lawrence officials have welcomed the idea of being placed in one district, but officials from other areas voiced disapproval of the two proposals.
In one map, Manhattan would be put into the vast 1st District, which includes western Kansas, and in the other proposal, Sedgwick County would be divided between the 1st and 4th districts.
Manhattan officials say they want to stay in the 2nd District because the city is linked through education, economics and the animal health corridor with Topeka and west Lawrence.
And Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said placing Wichita, which is now in the 4th District, into the 1st District was “ugly.”
She said 4th District congressman, Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, wants the 4th to stay as it is as much as possible.
Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, who is chair of the Senate redistricting committee, said each of Kansas’ four House representatives want to keep their districts as they are, but that is impossible.
“The problem is population density won’t allow that, and there is going to be change,” Owens said.
Owens said he would like the committee to consider both maps and be ready to vote on a measure next week.
The Legislature is charged with changing political boundaries to accommodate changes in population over the past 10 years and make districts as equal in population as possible.
The ideal size congressional district would have 713,280 people. The 1st District is 57,790 people under this ideal size and must pick up population. And the 3rd District, which includes east Lawrence, has 54,289 more people than the ideal size, so it must lose population. The 2nd needs 3,233 more people and the 4th must lose 6,912 people.