- Evelyn Hill
Governor Laura Kelly Veto's Redistricitng Map
TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly has vetoed a Senate bill that sets the Congressional redistricting map.
Kelly said SB 355, known as Ad Astra 2, does not follow the guidelines courts and the Legislature have established on how to draw Kansas districts fairly and constitutionally. The governor said the proposed bill provided no justification for deviation from those guidelines.
“Wyandotte County is carved into two separate congressional districts,” Kelly said on Feb. 3 in announcing her veto. “
Without explanation, this map shifts 46 percent of the Black population and 33 percent of the Hispanic population out of the third congressional district by dividing the Hispanic neighborhoods of Quindaro Bluffs, Bethel-Welborn, Strawberry Hill, Armourdale, and others from Argentine, Turner, and the rest of Kansas City, Kansas, south of I-70. To replace lost
population in the third district, this map adds in counties that are more rural to the south and west of the core of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The governor said Ad Astra 2 also separates the city of Lawrence from Douglas County and inserts urban precincts of Lawrence into the largely rural Big First Congressional District, reducing the strength of communities of interest in western Kansas and unnecessarily dividing communities of interest in eastern Kansas.
“Several alternatives would allow for the same deviation as Ad Astra 2 while protecting the core of the existing congressional districts and without diluting minority communities’ voting strength,” Kelly said. “I am ready to work with the Legislature in a bipartisan fashion to pass a new congressional map that addresses the constitutional issues in Senate Bill 355. Together, we can come to a consensus and pass a compromise that empowers all people of Kansas.”
News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.