Topeka Split Plan Faces Trouble in Kansas Senate
March 30, 2012

(AP) – The Kansas House has passed a redistricting bill splitting Topeka between two congressional districts.

But key senators said even before Thursday’s vote 81-43 vote in the House that they oppose the measure. The Senate approved its own plan last month, and negotiators for the two chambers must compromise.

Topeka currently is in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas, and the House’s plan would move part of it into the 1st District of western and central Kansas. House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, noted that his chamber rejected other plans that kept Topeka in a single district.

But Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican, called splitting Topeka absurd. And Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, said he opposes the idea.

Kansas House Votes for the Topeka Split
March 28, 2012

(AP) – The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a congressional redistricting bill that splits Topeka between two U.S. House districts.

The 77-43 vote Wednesday advanced the measure to a final vote, expected Thursday.

Topeka is now entirely in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas. The bill would extend the 1st District of western and central Kansas into the capital city.

The 1st District would take in the Statehouse and heavily minority neighborhoods in eastern Topeka. Republican-leaning, predominantly white neighborhoods in the city’s west side would remain in the 2nd District.

Kansas lawmakers must adjust the lines of the state’s four U.S. House districts to account for changes in population over the past decade. The Senate has passed a different version, meaning the two chambers would have to agree on compromise.

Flip, Flop, Flip, Kansas Lawmakers Kill ‘Big First/KCK’ Plan, Revive It, Then Approve It
March 15, 2012

House Approved Congressional redistricting map places parts of Wyandotte County in a district dominated by west Kansas. The proposed district is shaded in pink.

The Kansas House Redistricting Committee has approved a new Congressional map that splits portions of Wyandotte County out of the Kansas City area Congressional District. Wyandotte County and KCK are currently in the Kansas 3rd District. This plan would move portions of the area into the Kansas 1st District. The working title of the map is ‘Eisenhower-B’
The new map would place some part of Wyandotte in a Congressional district dominated by west Kansas. That district is often referred to as ‘The Big First’, since the Kansas 1st Congressional district covers about half of the entire state.
The map is opposed by many local leaders in Kansas City, Kansas.
A Johnson County Democrat, St.Rep Mike Slattery says the idea of splitting Wyandotte County away from Johnson County is a “terrible” idea.
“Why would anyone in their right mind separate these two commonly bound communities from being served by the same congressman? Answer: Politics”, Slattery wrote in a newsletter Thursday morning. Other Democrats in KCK accuse the panel of gerrymandering the district. ‘Gerrymandering’ is a term that means putting the political opposition in politcally difficult territory based on politcs, not population.
Every 10 years congressional districts are adjusted to reflect changes in population.
In a unsual meeting of the committee Thursday afternoon, the ‘Big First/KCK’ plan was killed on an 11-8 vote.
But after another committee member arrived late and tried to get the map reconsidered, the motion was blocked.
So another member who voted with the prevailing side asked for the ‘Big First/KCK’ map to be brought up again.
It was. On the second vote, House Speaker Mike O’Neal broke an 11-11 by voting for the ‘Big First/KCK’ map. He is the author of that proposal.
It’s the second day in a row O’Neal cast the decided vote on the map.
The Committee plan goes to the full House now for its consideration. The Kansas Senate redistricting committee has a different version of a new map. The Senate version keeps Wyandotte and Johnson counties together in the Ks-3.

Kansas House Votes to Split KCK & Wyandotte Co. into Two Congressional Distircts, Hooking Part With West Kansas
March 14, 2012

(AP) – A Kansas House committee is narrowly backing a congressional redistricting proposal that would split the Kansas City area between two U.S. House districts.The proposed map’s working title is ‘Eisenhower’.

The Redistricting Committee approved the proposal Wednesday on a 12-11 vote, with House Speaker Mike O’Neal breaking a tie. O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, drafted the plan and serves as the panel’s chairman.

The vote indicates the proposal probably will go to the House for further debate. However, O’Neal said he’ll hold another committee meeting Thursday to see whether another plan garners more support.

His plan divides Wyandotte County in the Kansas City area, keeping part of it with neighboring Johnson County in the 3rd District. But some of the county’s urban neighborhoods would be placed in an expanded 1st District with western Kansas communities more than 400 miles away.

Kansas About to Tackle Congressional Redistricting, Dispute Brewing over the ‘Big 1st’
January 22, 2012

(AP) – House Speaker Mike O’Neal opposes a congressional redistricting proposal that would expand the 1st District of western and central Kansas to include the Manhattan area.

O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican and chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, said Friday that Manhattan officials want their community to stay in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas.

The plan came from Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Tim Owens. The committee is meeting Monday to review it.

Owens, an Overland Park Republican, says his plan is only a starting point for the discussion.

But Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, says he likes the plan.

The state must redraw its four congressional districts to account for shifts in population. The 1st District is under-populated and must pick up territory.