Another Set of Battles on Kansas Redistricting
May 7, 2012

(AP) – A Kansas House committee plans to start the week trying to do what lawmakers couldn’t do last week – draw a new map of state Senate districts that both chambers can accept.

Boundaries of the 40 Senate districts are being adjusted to account for changes in population. By tradition, each chamber of the Kansas Legislatures revises its own map, and the other chamber goes along. But the House has become involved in Senate redistricting this year.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal says his chamber’s Redistricting Committee will consider a Senate map similar to one drawn by Sen. Steve Abrams of Arkansas City.

That map has already been narrowly voted down by the Senate – and the House has rejected a version that the Senate approved.

Kansas Lawmakers Struggle with Redistricting in Wrap-Up Session
April 25, 2012

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas House committee is hesitating to intervene in a contentious dispute in the state Senate over redrawing senators’ districts.

The House Redistricting Committee convened Wednesday with plans to review proposals for adjusting the boundaries of Senate districts. But its chairman, House Speaker Mike O’Neal, kept the panel in session for only a few minutes.

Aides to O’Neal said later there were signs the Senate was moving closer to resolving a dispute between conservative and moderate Republicans on redistricting.

Tradition dictates that one chamber does not attempt to redraw the districts of the other chamber’s members.

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.

Kansas Legislature Starts Redrawing Congressional Boundries
June 1, 2011

From AP: Kansas legislators began discussions on redrawing lines for legislative andĀ  ongressional districts on Wednesday, with the House speaker taking the unusual step of putting himself in charge of the politically charged task in his chamber.

The House’s committee on redistricting held its first meeting, an orientation session. The Senate committee was expected to meet later in the day. The two teams expect to have joint meetings throughout the summer and fall for public hearings in communities across the state.

The state redraws political boundaries once every 10 years following the federal census. Lawmakers won’t actually redraw political boundaries until their 2012 session, which convenes in January. In addition to House, Senate and congressional districts, they will revise districts for the State Board of Education.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, named himself the chairman of hisĀ  hamber’s 17-member committee -reflecting both the task’s political importance and his interest in it. O’Neal, an attorney, was chairman of the House’s redistricting committee in 2002 under another speaker and was heavily involved in redrawing lines in 1992.

“There are really only a couple of us who’ve had experience doing this,” O’Neal said. “Given that I was going to have a substantial interest in it and probably would be working on it anyway, I just decided that we’d run it out of our office.”

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, also put himself on the committee. Its partisan split – 17 Republicans and six Democrats – reflects the House’s overall GOP majority, 92-33.