Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Haley: Redistricting Gamesmanship was Predictable

By DAVID HALEY, Kansas Senator

For nearly a year, members of the Kansas Legislature have been working diligently to redraw each of the state’s congressional, senate, house and state board of education districts to reflect changes in population.

And for nearly that entire time, Governor Sam Brownback has done everything in his power to interfere with the process.

In an attempt to ouster members of his own political party, Governor Brownback has manipulated the system to his favor and stifled progress being made by the Senate chamber.

Kansas is now the only state in the nation to have not completed redistricting, forcing the Secretary of State to postpone the filing deadline until June 11th and leaving the threat of court-intervention hanging over our heads.

Unfortunately, all of this political one-upmanship could have been prevented.

In a letter to the co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on Redistricting, dated December 2nd, 2011 and published in several local news media, I formally requested that the committee reconvene prior to the 2012 Legislative Session.  Such a meeting would have eased the prospect of the partisan gamesmanship we have encountered this year.

But instead, the legislature has allowed Governor Brownback to manipulate the process and suffocate bi-partisan cooperation, at a cost of $63,000 per day to Kansas taxpayers.

Now 95 days into a 90-day session, the time for political power grabs is over.

Governor Brownback needs to step aside and let the Senate complete its work.

As much as I hate for redistricting to turn into an 'I told you so' moment, sadly, this was a predictable outcome.