Kansas Lawmakers Continue to Jostle Over Maps

Topeka Capital Journal:
The Senate redistricting committee Thursday offered pointed rebuttal to House colleagues by approving three new maps redrawing political boundaries of the state’s 40 districts for senators.
The three Senate maps endorsed by the committee followed the House’s move to advance a map determining composition of Senate districts ahead of the 2012 elections. The House adopted Thursday fresh versions of maps for the House, Senate and Kansas State Board of Education.
Historically, the House and Senate took the lead in drafting their own district maps. Both chambers this session have rejected maps drawn by the rival chamber.
Consideration of the new Senate map, redrawn every decade based on changes documented in the U.S. census, has been complicated by efforts of Gov. Sam Brownback and conservative Republican allies in the House and Senate to craft political boundaries undermining the future of moderate senators.
Much of the Senate leadership, including Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, has joined with Democrats to resist redistricting maps that would make it easier for GOP conservatives to win in the August primary.
Sen. Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican and chairman of the Senate mapping committee, said the three Senate maps produced by the panel excluded all conservative Republican challengers to incumbent GOP members of the Senate.
“The challengers are out,” Owens said. “I think they’re good options — reasonable options.”
House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican and chairman of the House redistricting committee, said he couldn’t support a Senate map drawn with “arrogance” to dispose of challengers.

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