The Kansas House has rejected a congressional redistricting bill that would have bumped most of northern Butler County and Harvey, Kingman and Harper counties out of the 4th Congressional District and extended the district to the state’s southeast corner.
Wednesday’s vote was 76-48 against the bill, which the House had passed on Tuesday.
The rejected plan was an alternative to a proposal by Republican House Speaker Mike O’Neal. O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, wanted to split the Kansas City area, moving part of it into the 1st District of western and central Kansas. House members from both Kansas City and western Kansas didn’t like the plan.
O’Neal said he no longer is pushing that plan. The fact that an alternative plan emerged from the House debate shows that many lawmakers don’t want to divide the Kansas City area, he said.
O’Neal said the House Redistricting Committee will work on a new plan next week.
He said the alternative plan probably failed over other issues. It dramatically redrew U.S. House district lines in south-central and southeast Kansas.
In addition to the changes for Butler, Harvey, Kingman and Harper counties, it would have split the southeast corner in half between the 4th and 2nd Districts. It would have added portions of Greenwood County to the 4th District along with all of Labette, Cherokee and Crawford counties.
U.S. 4th District Rep. Mike Pompeo said he was concerned about how the map would have split the Wichita metro area in two.
“The people who live, work, and raise their families in Harper, Kingman, and Harvey Counties and in towns like El Dorado, Augusta, and Newton share many of the same values and concerns – we work together,” he said in a written statement. “It’s senseless to divide these folks’ representation so haphazardly, and I hope the process will not break up this community and that people will voice their discontent to their representatives in Topeka.”
Contributing: Associated Press