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Kansas House creates new water, redistricting committees

December 28, 2020 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A newly created Kansas House committee will focus on water issues, and the chamber’s Republican leaders have taken their first step toward redrawing the state’s political boundaries.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., an Olathe Republican, said in a recent statement that one goal of the chamber’s Republican supermajority is “protecting our state’s agricultural roots for the long haul.”

He said the new Water Committee will examine policy “particularly in relation to our ag and rural economies.” Republican Rep. Ron Highland of Wamego will lead the new committee.

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The Water Committee replaces the Rural Revitalization Committee. But House GOP leaders have expanded the focus of the House Financial Institutions Committee so that it will include rural development.

The state constitution requires a redrawing of Kansas’ political boundaries once every 10 years based on the federal census, and that’s due to happen in 2022. House GOP leaders appointed a 12-member Redistricting Committee led by Republican Rep. Chris Croft of Overland Park.

Sixteen of the House’s 25 designated committee chairs are returning to the positions they’ve had for the past two years.

But Republican Rep. Steven Johnson of Assaria is moving from tax committee chairman to insurance committee head, and the panel also will handle pension issues.