Back in 2011, House Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, warned everyone about a bizarre redistricting map that would take Saline, Dickinson and McPherson counties out of their longtime home in the Big First Congressional District and put them in the Second District.
Hensley said the map also would move part of the Kansas City metro area into the largely rural 1st District of central and western Kansas. The House speaker at the time, Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, laughed off Hensley's warning, calling it a "conspiracy" map. While there indeed was such a proposed map, fortunately, it never went anywhere.
Hensley's knowledge about political workings in Kansas is one reason we're willing to give credence to a news release he issued this past week about the special session being called by Gov. Sam Brownback. The governor called the session so the Legislature can fix a problem with the state's "Hard 50" sentence.
Hensley referred to the three-day special session, which will begin Sept. 3 and cost $40,000 a day, as a "diversion."
"It's pretty clear that Governor Brownback is putting on a show so he can deflect peoples' attention away from the controversy surrounding his selection of a nominee for the Kansas Court of Appeals."
Hensley notes when Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked for the special session, he suggested it be scheduled in mid-September.
Instead, Brownback set it for four days after the deadline for naming a nominee to the Court of Appeals.
"It is obvious that he wants to rush this appointment through the Senate quickly to avoid any organized opposition to his nominee."
Hensley might be right about the governor's intentions. But even if Brownback had named his nominee six months in advance, we don't think it would make a difference.
The governor and GOP legislators are of like mind, so it's not like they're going to turn on him. And the general public doesn't care about Kansas Court of Appeal judges. As long as the governor doesn't nominate a hard-core liberal, he pretty much can do whatever he wants without adverse political consequences.
Hensley is right to raise the issue, but unfortunately, it's a nonstarter with voters.
Editorial by the Salina Journal