Senator: Gov. tried to end impasse

? A southeast Kansas senator testified Tuesday that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his staff were involved late in the legislative session to help end a redistricting impasse.

Sen. Jeff King, an Independence Republican, told three federal judges in Kansas City, Kan., that the governor’s office was willing to offer staff to end a stalemate over redrawing the state’s political boundaries. That impasse never ended, resulting in a two-day trial that opened Tuesday.

King said Brownback and Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler asked King and others to work with the governor’s staff to draw new maps. One of those maps is similar to one offered to three federal judges to consider. King said he worked with Peter Northcott, a staff member in Brownback’s office to develop a Senate map as an alternative to plans that failed to gain House support after clearing the Senate with 21 votes.

“Mr. Northcott had it on his computer using the Maptitude software,” King said, the same software program used by the Kansas Legislative Research Department.

The maps became the judges’ responsibility after the Legislature could not settle a feud among Republicans over the districts’ boundaries. The judges heard testimony into the early evening Tuesday and expected to finish today. They will consider proposals submitted by attorneys, as well as volumes of evidence filed over the past week to draw the new boundaries.