Daily Archives: Dec. 7, 2012

Don’t waste time on redistricting

With all the budget challenges facing the state, are lawmakers really going to reopen the redistricting can of worms? Incoming Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said that she is interested in redrawing legislative districts, which the Legislature failed to agree on last session. Their work had to be completed by a panel of federal judges. But lawmakers and others were elected last month based on the new districts, and there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to revisit the maps (other than Manhattan’s desire not to be represented by U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler). If lawmakers do reconsider redistricting, it should be to create a nonpartisan, independent commission to draw the districts next time.

State leaders are good friends with ALEC

The state’s top two legislative leaders are board members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded group that writes “model legislation” for states. Newly elected Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, also served as ALEC’s national chairwoman in 2006, and newly elected House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, was the group’s legislator of the year in 2010, the Lawrence Journal-World noted. Gov. Sam Brownback also has close ties to ALEC and wrote a foreword to the group’s annual report in 2011. A number of major companies pulled out of ALEC after complaints about the group’s support for voter-ID laws and “stand your ground” gun laws. About two dozen Kansas legislators have been active in ALEC, the Journal-World reported.