Topeka The Kansas redistricting wars continued Wednesday with no let-up in sight.
A day after a bi-partisan plan to re-draw Senate district boundaries was approved in the Senate, conservative Republicans killed it in the House.
State Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, made a motion to concur with the Senate plan, knowing it would go down in defeat. It did as the motion failed, 43-72.
State Rep. Greg Smith, a conservative Republican from Overland Park who is in the middle of the battle between moderate and conservative members of the GOP, said the Senate plan should be rejected because it diluted Hispanic voting strength by collapsing a western Kansas senate district that is losing population.
"This bill needs to be done away with," Smith said.
Traditionally, the House and Senate draw redistricting maps for their own chambers. The Senate has accepted the House-drawn maps for the House.
But House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the Senate map approved Tuesday in the Senate on a 21-19 vote wouldn't get a majority of support in the House.
Moments before the House killed the Senate plan, a House committee introduced a Senate map similar to one that was drawn by state Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, which would have saved a district in western Kansas at the expense of adding a district in growing Johnson County. Abrams' proposal had failed in the Senate on a 19-21 vote.
Kansas legislators are engaged in the once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries for congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts to accommodate populations shifts.
Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said House rejection of the Senate map was breaking with tradition. "I've always said it's the House's responsibility to do their maps, and it's our responsibility to do our map," he said.
The maneuvering around redistricting is also linked to standoffs on other unresolved issues, such as the budget and proposed tax cuts.
On the congressional front, the Senate Redistricting Committee on Wednesday recommended approval of a map that puts all of Douglas County in the 2nd congressional district.
Currently, Douglas County is divided between the 2nd and 3rd districts.
The proposal also keeps Manhattan in the 2nd District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka.
An earlier version placed Manhattan in the vast 1st District, which includes all of western Kansas. Manhattan and Riley County officials had opposed that. Of the new proposal, state Sen. Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan, said, "I support this map. This is exactly what I wanted to see all along."
Committee Chairman Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, said the measure resolves the Manhattan issue and several others.
"It's not perfect," Owens said. "No map is," he said. The plan was approved by voice vote without dissent and now goes to the full Senate.
Both the House and Senate had earlier approved congressional redistricting plans and killed the other chamber's proposal.
Earlier versions that gained traction in the House would have split Democratic strongholds, such as Kansas City, Kan., Topeka and Lawrence. Each of those proposals would have placed a portion of those cities in the 1st.
Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said the new proposal "goes to show you don't have to draw a map that splits Kansas City or Topeka or Lawrence and places them in the 1st as the House speaker insisted."
The congressional map approved by the Senate Redistricting Committee can be viewed at http://redistricting.ks.gov/_Plans/Draft_Plans/sunflower_13/sunflower_13.html.