TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A first look at proposals for new congressional maps in Kansas hint at an uncertain political future.
Republican lawmakers in the state’s House and Senate Redistricting committees introduced their plans Tuesday, showing a split in the Kansas City Metro area’s most populated counties. Now that the district is overpopulated, it gives Republicans an incentive to draw new lines and reclaim the state’s only Democratic seat in Congress, under Representative Sharice Davids.
Democrats and other groups have pushed for both Wyandotte and Johnson County to be kept together, some keeping an eye on potential gerrymandering.
“We don’t want to see Wyandotte County in the first congressional district. Wyandotte and Johnson County should be kept together as close as possible by population,” Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said.
Burroughs, Ranking Minority Leader of the House Redistricting Committee, introduced his own map, similar to another proposal from the League of Women Voters. Both would keep Johnson and Wyandotte county intact.
However, a Republican-drawn map called “Ad-Astra,” which was introduced by Representative Chris Croft, R-Overland Park, who chairs the House committee, and Senate President Ty Masterson would keep the northern half of Wyandotte County out of Davids’ district.
Rep. Croft said that politics didn’t play a role in his decision, but rather feedback from the public.
“Just all kinds of stuff that came into it and just thinking about it, and knowing what are our rules that we have to follow, trying to get to a zero deviation,” Croft said. “A lot of its population driven too, so there’s a lot of factors that go into it.”
Another map, which was introduced in the House committee, which was called a “baseline,” referenced lines are drawn in 2012. At the time, the supreme court decided how to draw the lines after lawmakers ran into roadblocks making a final decision; something lawmakers are hoping to avoid this year.
Croft said more proposals may be introduced later in the week.
Lawmakers will meet again Thursday for a hearing on the proposals, and potentially take action to finalize a map on Friday or early next week.
For maps introduced in the Senate redistricting committee, click here.
For maps introduced in the House redistricting committee, click here.