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Kansas governor signs new legislative, school board maps

April 15, 2022 GMT
Kansas state Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, relaxes with colleagues after redistricting plans for the Kansas Senate, House and State Board of Education, won approval by bipartisan majorities, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Wilborn is chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Kansas state Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, relaxes with colleagues after redistricting plans for the Kansas Senate, House and State Board of Education, won approval by bipartisan majorities, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Wilborn is chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Kansas state Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, relaxes with colleagues after redistricting plans for the Kansas Senate, House and State Board of Education, won approval by bipartisan majorities, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Wilborn is chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
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Kansas state Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, relaxes with colleagues after redistricting plans for the Kansas Senate, House and State Board of Education, won approval by bipartisan majorities, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Wilborn is chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
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Kansas state Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, relaxes with colleagues after redistricting plans for the Kansas Senate, House and State Board of Education, won approval by bipartisan majorities, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Wilborn is chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday signed a redistricting measure expected to preserve Republican supermajorities in the Kansas Legislature while also making it possible for conservatives to elect more members to the state school board.

Kelly didn’t say why she signed the measure in announcing her action, but she had praised the new House and Senate maps as fair to incumbents and “a pretty good job.” The maps also had bipartisan support among lawmakers.

The debate over the State Board of Education map was more contentious, with board members opposing it.

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The Kansas Constitution requires the state Supreme Court to review the legislative maps and rule on their validity within 45 days. If the court strikes them down, lawmakers have another 15 days to pass new maps.

The state constitution also mandates that lawmakers redraw their districts every 10 years to make them as equal in population as possible after population shifts. Southeastern, central and parts of western Kansas lost population, while the Kansas City, Wichita, Lawrence and Manhattan areas gained.

The Board of Education offered its own plan, one likely to preserve the 10-member board’s current moderate GOP-Democratic majority. That plan also avoided any districts with two incumbents, while the measure signed into law by Kelly created two of them.

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