Jul 21, 2021 1:00 PM

Kan. commissions urge transparency in redistricting process

Posted Jul 21, 2021 1:00 PM
Kansas legislative districts
Kansas legislative districts

TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers plan to hold 14 town hall meetings across the state to gather opinions this summer and fall on how the Legislature should redraw political boundaries next year.

Six legislative leaders agreed to have the same number of town hall meetings that lawmakers held ahead of the last redistricting in 2012.

On Monday, The Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission, the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, and the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns sent a joint letter to the Kansas Redistricting Committee outlining steps it should take to ensure constituent participation, transparency, and accessibility during the redistricting process, according to a media release from the governor's office.

“It is crucial that the redistricting process is as transparent as possible and that as many people have the opportunity to be involved in the decisions that will impact who their voice in the legislature is for potentially the next decade,” the letter says. “Yet, there remain several steps this committee should take to ensure constituent participation.”

The state must redraw congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts every 10 years to reflect shifts in the population. The Republican-controlled Legislature plans to tackle the work next year and have new lines in place for the June 2022 candidate filing deadline.

Lawmakers in both parties expect Johnson County, the state’s most populous county, to pick up seats in the Legislature and western and southeast Kansas to lose them. They’re also expecting a contentious debate over redrawing the state’s four congressional districts.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report