Kansas Governor Signs New Legislative and School Maps

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly signed a redistricting measure Friday that would preserve Republican supermajorities in the Kansas Legislature while allowing conservatives to elect more members to the state school board.

Kelly didn’t say why she signed off on the measure when announcing her action, but she hailed the new House and Senate maps as fair to incumbents and “a pretty good job.” The cards also enjoyed bipartisan support among lawmakers.

The debate over the State Board of Education map was more contentious, with board members opposing it.

The Kansas Constitution requires the state Supreme Court to review legislative maps and rule on their validity within 45 days. If the court overturns them, lawmakers still have 15 days to pass new maps.

The state constitution also requires legislators to redraw their districts every 10 years to make them as equal in population as possible after population changes. Southeast, central and parts of western Kansas lost population, while the Kansas City, Wichita, Lawrence and Manhattan areas gained.

The Board of Education has offered its own plan, likely to preserve the current moderate GOP-Democrat majority on the 10-member board. This plan also avoided all districts with two incumbents, while the measure enacted by Kelly created two.

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