Archive for Saturday, May 19, 2012

House gives final approval to redistricting map that puts portion of Lawrence in 1st

May 19, 2012


— 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


hujiko 5 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence is the only metropolitan area being split between two districts. If population is what they need then why not steal parts of Wichita, Junction City, Manhattan, or Topeka? All are west of Lawrence and would be more proximal to the 1st District. There is no reason for this other than to split the democratic majority in Douglas County.

This is gerrymandering through and through, and O'Neal knows it.

theoriginalj3 5 years, 11 months ago

Political bullying at its worst. I'm with you, hujiko. There's no defense to this garbage.

appleaday 5 years, 11 months ago

A computer could generate a map that was fair, accurate, and impartial.

Orwell 5 years, 11 months ago

If you know you can't win an election fair & square, you just have to cheat. It's the wingnut way.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 11 months ago

For those who don't think that politics is playing a huge role, check out the rather long list of alternatives that have also been vetted and could be voted on instead:

O'Neil's fiasco is titled M5_Kansas Six

--as in deep six!

Once again, Yoder's silence is deafening in this whole scenario; he provided them feedback which apparently was either approving of this switch or only voiced tepid disapproval.

Brian Hall 5 years, 11 months ago

Our Topeka representatives would be the above-mentioned Ballard, Davis, Mah, Brown and Sloan. Huelskamp would be our U.S. Representative--like Jenkins, Yoder and Pompeo are to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. So while we would not be represented in Washington, we would be represented in Topeka.

Phillbert 5 years, 11 months ago

After Mike O'Neal said the entire delegation supported it, Huelskamp's office did more than "oppose" the map, his campaign manager accused O'Neal of lying:

"We were quite surprised to hear this false claim by Speaker Mike O'Neal," said Jim Pfaff, campaign director for Huelskamp. "It's a knowing misrepresentation because we do not and never did support this map. He never even showed it to us before it was considered."

Matt Schwartz 5 years, 11 months ago

How does our Sec. of State have time to do 'side jobs' in different states?He should always have work to do here.

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