Wagle Considers Re-doing Kansas Re-Districting
December 6, 2012

(AP) – Incoming Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle says she’s interested in redrawing legislative districts next year even though federal judges redrew boundaries earlier this year.

Wagle told The Associated Press Thursday that she first wants to consult with attorneys to see whether a quick round of political redistricting is possible under the Kansas Constitution and past court decisions.

But she said if it is possible, in her words, “Nothing should be out of the realm of fixing.”

Wagle is a Wichita Republican and was among the conservative GOP legislators frustrated with this year’s legislative stalemate over redrawing political boundaries to ensure equal representation. Lawmakers failed to approve any maps, forcing three federal judges to draw the new lines.

GOP conservatives gained control of the Senate in this year’s elections.

Kansas GOP Primaries Intensify
July 24, 2012

KC Star:
Excerpts from a fine overview of the GOP primaries in Kansas:
“A fiery election season is engulfing Kansas amid a Republican civil war that will likely decide the fate of Gov. Sam Brownback’s legacy.
The conservative Republican has taken up sides against moderate Republicans in an election that could replace about a quarter of the Legislature…”
“The election figures to produce the biggest turnover in the statehouse in 30 years and could bolster Brownback for the rest of his current term in the governor’s mansion…”
“The election opened up considerably in June when a panel of three federal judges drew new election boundaries for the state House and Senate after the Legislature couldn’t agree on new district lines.
The court plan spurred a number of newcomers to run for the Legislature. In Johnson County alone, there are about 40 Republican and Democratic candidates for the Legislature who haven’t run for the statehouse before…”
“The court’s decision in drawing new boundaries was a rebuke for the Legislature for not finishing a job it has to do once every 10 years to account for shifts in the population, said Chapman Rackaway, a political science professor at Fort Hays State University.
“I think the court tried to make it as chaotic as possible and tried to maximize turnover for no other reason than to teach the Legislature a lesson: Don’t do this again,” he said.
But Brownback noted that the sudden changes in districts left voters confused about whom they will be voting for in races for the state Senate and House…”

Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/aug-7-primary-heats-up-kansas-gop-infighting/#storylink=cpy

Federal Judges Move to Limit Legal Fees from Kansas Redistricting Lawsuit
July 5, 2012


Three federal judges who redrew political boundaries in Kansas have moved to limit the legal costs that the state will be forced to cover from a lawsuit over the Legislature’s failure to adjust the lines to ensure equal representation.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the defendants in the lawsuit, said Thursday they were pleased and encouraged by the judges’ latest order this week, which asks parties suing the state for more information about their expenses. The judges have requests from 19 individuals who want the state to cover nearly $700,000 in attorney fees and other expenses.

The judges drew new lines last month for congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts after an impasse between conservative and moderate Republicans prevented lawmakers from passing any redistricting legislation. Many of the 27 people suing the state had competing interests, and the judges must decide who actually prevailed and how much of their costs must be covered by the state.

In their latest order, issued Tuesday, the judges told the parties to spell out how much of their costs came from presenting specific redistricting proposals in court and how much of those proposals were reflected in the political maps ultimately drawn by the judges. The judges also said they would not consider all redistricting valid, limiting the state’s tab even further.

"I think it will reduce the number of claimants and the dollar amounts," said Greg Musil, an Overland Park attorney who represented a Manhattan business leader.

Kansas Republicans Pick Up Another House Seat, Lake Quivera Democrat Left Off Ballot
June 20, 2012

The Kansas Republican Party picked up another seat in the 2013 House without much of a campaign.
The Topeka Capital journal reports that is because “Larry Meeker, a Lake Quivira Democrat, who failed to convince the Kansas Board of Objections to reverse a decision by the secretary of state’s office to deny him a spot on the ballot in the 17th District race for House.”
The Board is made up of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Governor Jeff Coyler.
The C-J says, “Colyer and Schmidt voted 2-0 against Meeker’s appeal, with Kobach abstaining.
“This is the case of the missing form,” Kobach said.
Kansas Democratic Party staff member Tyler Longbine testified he delivered to Ryan Kriegshauser, a member of Kobach’s staff, the form signed by Meeker shortly before the filing deadline. Kriegshauser said Meeker’s candidate papers weren’t submitted by Longbine in the last-day scramble.
“I do appreciate the confusion that took place that day.” Meeker said. “I don’t see anything in this other than a simple error.”
Meeker, retired vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, would have been the only Democratic candidate in the district.
The board’s ruling handed the seat to the Republican Party. In the GOP primary, Rep. Brett Hildabrand, of Shawnee, will face challenger Jason Leib, of Lenexa, to decide the race.”

St. Rep. Mike Kiegerl Knocked Off Kansas House Ballot
June 19, 2012

Johnson County State Representative Mike Kiegerl has been knocked off the ballot by a panel in Topeka.
A three-person panel, including secretary of State Kris Koster, ruled against Kiegerl in a redistricting challenge filed by his potential primary opponent, House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid.
The new Kansas House map placed both Republican incumbents, often allies in the legislature, in the same new district, Kansas-121.
Seigfreid challenged the ruling. The three-person panel sustained his Siegfreid’s objection.
Kiegerl may not be on the August primary ballot now.