TOPEKA, Kan. — A controversial congressional redistricting map is on its way to the desk of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly. The lawmakers in the House voted 79-37 Wednesday to approve the Ad Astra 2 map.
The proposed map is a House substitute for Senate Bill 355. The Senate approved the Ad Astra map last week. Opponents to the bill say the proposed district lines under Ad Astra would have a negative impact on minority voting strength in the City of Lawrence and in Wyandotte County.
Democratic Rep. Sawyer said despite short notice, the House and Senate redistricting committee was able to get feedback from more than 500 people across the state during various town halls.
“Not a single one said put Lawrence in the 1st District. A majority of them said keep the core of the Kansas City area together. They also spoke against political gerrymandering. In my time up here, this is the most politically gerrymandered map I’ve ever seen. We did not listen to the people,” Sawyer said.
The map splits the existing 3rd Congressional District along Interstate 70 between Wyandotte County and Johnson County. Under Ad Astra, the 3rd District would include a portion of Wyandotte County south of I-70, as well as all of Johnson, Miami, Franklin and Anderson counties.
The remaining portion of Wyandotte County north of I-70 would be placed in the 2nd District. The proposed map also moves the City of Lawrence out of the 2nd Congressional District that includes the rest of Douglas County and places it in the more rural 1st Congressional District.
“Although this map is not my first choice, I am excited for my counties of Anderson, Franklin and Miami to grow and work more closely alongside our friends and neighbors in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. With the more diverse district, we get better representation,” Republican Rep. Mark Samsel said.
The map will now move to Governor Kelly for final approval. If Kelly vetoes the map, it will require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to override her veto.