State Watch

Kansas Senate overrides governor’s veto of new congressional map

Kansas’s GOP-controlled Senate overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of a proposed congressional map on Tuesday, moving Republicans one step closer to passing the redistricted map as the matter moves to the state’s GOP-majority House for consideration.

Following a failed initial vote held on Monday, in which Senate Republicans were unable to override Kelly’s veto because two lawmakers were not present, Senate Republicans reconvened and successfully overcame the veto in a 27-11 vote on Tuesday, KSNT reported.

Last week, Kelly vetoed the proposed congressional map, saying in a statement that it was dividing Wyandotte County’s Black and Hispanic populations, “reducing the strength of communities of interest in Western Kansas and unnecessarily dividing communities of interest in Eastern Kansas.”

She added that several alternatives would allow for similar divisions without diluting the minority vote. 

“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,” she added. 

Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson (R) said Tuesday he was pleased the chamber was able to override the veto of the map, called Ad Astra 2, which he said is “politically fair.”

“The map is reflective of the testimony we received from the public, has zero deviation between Congressional districts, creates compact and contiguous districts, preserves existing district cores, and groups together communities of interest,” Masterson said. 

Rep. Sharice Davids (D), who represents Johnson and Wyandotte counties and is the only Democrat from the state’s congressional delegation, would be particularly impacted by the map if it is passed.

Kansas House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (D) slammed the proposed map.

“The Senate today passed out the most politically gerrymandered map I have ever seen, it even looks like a salamander,” Sawyer said, according to KSNT.

A two-thirds vote will be needed in the state House for that legislature to also overcome a veto, WDAF-TV reported. Republicans occupy 86 of the chamber’s 125 seats, or nearly 69 percent. 

A successful override could set up a possible legal challenge by Democrats through either the Kansas Supreme Court or federal courts.

The Hill has reached out to the offices of Kelly and Sawyer for comment.

Tags Congressional map Kansas Laura Kelly Redistricting Sharice Davids

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