Kansas lawmakers hold town hall meetings on redistricting

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas legislators start five days of town hall meetings to discuss redrawing the state’s political boundaries. Federal officials plan to release its first census data later this week.

The House and Senate redistricting committees have 14 events planned across the state this week (Aug. 9 – Aug.13, 2021). Organizers designed the meetings to give people a chance to weigh in on what principles they want lawmakers to use in redrawing districts next year. Those include congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts.

Meetings

  • Hays, Manhattan, Salina (August 9)
  • Colby, Garden City, Dodge City (August 10)
  • Chanute, Hutchinson, Wichita (August 11)
  • Kansas City, Overland Park, Pittsburg (August 12)
  • Lawrence, Leavenworth (August 13)

Democrats have complained that the GOP-controlled Legislature is stifling participation by scheduling the town hall meetings over just five days. Senate President Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said at the end of the Manhattan event that the meetings are merely a first step.

The U.S. Census Bureau plans to release its first data for cities and counties Thursday.

Lawmakers must account for shifts in population across Kansas and make districts as equal in population as possible. But political considerations such as protecting incumbent lawmakers and helping each party’s chances in 2022 elections are likely to play a big role.