Throughout the legislative session, Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, has referred to redistricting as “one of my favorite subjects,” so many times that it has become a running gag. But even Hensley — who scored a major legislative victory 10 years ago when he helped form a coalition to protect Democrats and conservative Republicans against moderates — seemed sick of the current redistricting debate at a media briefing Friday. “It would appear we’re headed to court to resolve this issue,” Hensley said. “I think that’s very unfortunate.”
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of State Kris Kobach both warned recently that under Kansas law it appears redistricting is the one issue that must be completed during the 90-day regular session. But that deadline passed Friday with no new district lines approved, mainly because of a vociferous clash between Republican moderates who control the Senate and a coalition of conservative senators and would-be conservative challengers in the House. While conservatives in both chambers blamed the Senate leadership for not acceding to House-passed maps last week, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said they shouldn’t be surprised.