Kansas lawmakers approve their new districts, ed board map
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have given final approval to a redistricting measure that’s likely to preserve Republican supermajorities in the Legislature while possibly moving the state school board to the right.
The state Senate on Wednesday night approved, 29-11, a single bill containing plans for its members, the House and the State Board of Education, shortly after the House approved it, 83-40. The measure goes next to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, and Republican leaders appear to have the two-thirds majorities in both chambers to override a veto.
The new State Board of Education map drew an unusual amount of attention this year. The board had a rival plan likely to retain its current centrist majority, while Senate President Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, hopes to elect more conservatives.
Kelly hasn’t weighed in publicly on the state school board map, but she said in an interview earlier this week that the House and Senate maps seemed “as fair to the incumbents as the numbers would allow.”
“I actually think they did a pretty good job on that,” she said.
The Kansas Constitution requires the Legislature to redraw districts once every decade to make them as equal in population as possible after population shifts. Southeast, central and parts of western Kansas lost population over the last 10 years, while the Wichita area and northeast Kansas saw gains.
If Kelly signs the measure, the Kansas Supreme Court automatically will review the maps.
Republicans expect the new maps to allow them to keep roughly the same majorities of 29-11 in the Senate and 86-39 in the House.
While the State Board of Education has a 6-4 Republican majority, it’s controlled by Democrats and GOP moderates.