Legislative districts tweaked
Marion County still will be split into two legislative districts under reapportionment, but the precise boundaries will change.
House District 70, represented by John Barker, will lose the Lehigh area but expand to include the Florence and Burns areas.
The remainder of the county is in the 74th district, represented by Stephen Owens.
A map of old and new district boundaries appears in an editorial on Page 2.
Barker, a member of the legislature’s redistricting committee, said census data drove redistricting in the state.
“The district lost 2,500 people in the last 10 years,” he said.
Each house district is to represent a population of 23,500. When population increases or decreases, the boundaries of the district are redrawn.
“It’s strictly about population,” Barker said.
State school board and senate districts also are being redrawn.
With this year’s redistricting, a couple of western Kansas house districts were collapsed their seats in the legislature were moved to Johnson County, Barker said.
Barker has represented District 70 since 2013, and recently filed for re-election.
Scott Hill, who lives north of Abilene also filed for election.
Hill thinks it’s no coincidence his address was removed from the district — especially since Barker is on the redistricting committee.
Representatives are required to live within the boundaries of their district.
Barker denies that the district’s boundaries were drawn to deliberately eliminate Hill.
“That’s not true,” Barker said. “We didn’t even see the maps until after the lines were drawn.”