Kan. Republicans Continue Redistricting Debate

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TOPEKA, Kan. — You might think in such a heavily republican state, Kansas would have no problem with redistricting. But right now, Kansas is one of the last states in the country still debating the maps.

And it turns out the biggest fight is between Republicans.

The fight has been going on so long now that the Kansas Secretary of State has had to push back election filing dates and the whole thing could derail the state’s August 7 primary elections if it’s not resolved soon.

Lawmakers have to redraw political maps after the census to adjust for population changes. Traditionally, the Kansas Senate and House redraws their own maps and each body approves the others without a squabble. But this year the Kansas House, controlled by conservative Republicans, rejected the Kansas Senate’s map. The State Senate is controlled by moderate Republicans.

The Senate debated a new map Tuesday, and the House said it would come up with its own map for the Senate, but it’s unlikely the Senate would pass that map.

The Redistricting Committee Chairman Senator Tim Owens from Overland Park says the legislature may be stuck in a stalemate.

“It’s going to go on to the courts and frankly at this point, with that kind of conflict going on, I have more confidence that the courts will come out with something that is the best interest of Kansas than anything I’ve seen yet,” Owens said.

Owens adds that this is all about politics. He says one way to take politics out of the process is to change the process itself. He introduced legislation Tuesday that would put commission in charge of redistricting, citizens appointed by legislators, and the maps would be sent to lawmakers for an up or down vote.

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