Topeka — A large part of Lawrence would be in the western Kansas 1st congressional district under a bill approved Saturday by the House.
The proposal was approved 64-51 with only Republican votes.
State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said the redistricting map was unfair. "I was raised on fairness and justice and love and this is not fair, and you know it," Ballard told House members.
State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said putting east and north Lawrence in the vast 1st, which is dominated by agriculture and stretches to the Colorado border, was illogical.
"We ought to have maps that make geographic sense," Davis said.
But House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, defended the proposal, saying that the map makes contiguous the 1st and Johnson County-based 3rd districts. That is necessary, he said, because as the 1st loses population it will have to snag population from the growing 3rd to make districts similar in size.
Lawrence is currently divided between the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts. Under the proposed map, the Kansas University campus area would be in the 2nd.
Essentially, the map would put one of the most liberal areas of the state in one of the most conservative congressional districts in the country.
State Senate leaders didn't like the plan. And the office of U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, who represents the 1st District, said he opposed putting Lawrence in the 1st. Davis noted that, but O'Neal said, "One disgruntled congressman, mine, shouldn't dictate the the Legislature should do."
Democrats said the Republican-dominated Legislature wanted to dilute Democratic voting strength. Earlier plans pushed by Republican leaders would have split other Democratic areas, such as east Topeka and Kansas City, Kan.
The final congressional, legislative and State Board of Education redistricting maps will likely be decided in court as the Legislature has locked up on redrawing political boundaries to adjust for population changes over the past decade.
A May 29 hearing is scheduled in a federal lawsuit filed by Robyn Renee Essex, a Republican precinct committee member from Olathe, over the Legislature's failure.
Five individuals sought permission Friday to join the lawsuit, including Davis. They contend that neither Essex nor Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the defendant, will adequately represent their interests.
The others seeking to intervene are Overland Park business leaders Benjamin Craig and Larry Winn III; former Democratic state Rep. Bill Roy Jr., of Lenexa, and Frank Beer, a Manhattan resident.
Here is how the Douglas County legislative delegation voted Saturday on a congressional redistricting map that would place a portion of Lawrence in the 1st U.S. House district.
Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence
Anthony Brown, R-Eudora
Paul Davis, D-Lawrence
Ann Mah, D-Topeka
Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence