New economic bill and map discussed during legislative dialogue | News
Kansas Senator Jeff Longbine and Representatives Mark Schreiber and Eric Smith discussed redistricting maps and the Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion Act (APEX) during a legislative dialogue Saturday at Flint Hills Technical College.
The Emporia Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters hosted the event.
APEX would donate a parcel of land to a company that is expected to create 4,000 jobs and represents a significant financial investment for the state entering into the deal. Currently, there is speculation that Kansas’ contender is Oklahoma.
The bill has sparked conversations due to the secrecy behind the case. Kansans don’t know who the corporate legislature is offering billion dollar tax breaks, grants and funding to. Lawmakers themselves are not told the identity of the company without signing a nondisclosure agreement.
“I don’t know the identity of the company and I was offered to sign a nondisclosure agreement,” Longbine said. “Quite frankly, I didn’t want to do it because I’ve been asked 150 times ‘who is it’ and I didn’t want to have to say that I can’t tell you. I’d rather tell you that I can’t. don’t know.
Schreiber and Smith also don’t know who the company is.
Longbine, Scheiber and Smith are all in favor of this bill and hope it will help fund more Kansas. Thanks to the promise of 4,000 new jobs and a $4 billion investment in the state through this agreement.
“We know it will be in northeast Kansas. I suspect maybe the retired munitions factory near Desoto,” Longbine said. “It could be in eastern Douglas County or western Wyandotte County or the Tonganoxie area, there is land available up there. But this is a huge opportunity for Kansas State.
The legislator is also choosing between two new district cards, the Blue Stem card and the Ad Astra 2 card.
When legislation redraws and remaps the state after each census, it changes the functions of the state and at a localized level. Some counties could be divided or redistributed by changing who their representatives are, according to Smith.
Longbine, Schreiber, and Smith support the Ad Astra map for different reasons, but the most important is that it does not divide Lyon County or heavily alter the locations of the neighboring area.
“What you’re trying to do is try to find the best set of numbers you can with the least amount of variance,” Smith said. “There was no deviation in this (Ad Astra) card. It was something we were aiming for.
They were also told that this map will most likely go to the Kansas Supreme Court to determine if gerrymandering was involved in its making.
Another legislative dialogue will take place on March 19 at Flint Hills Technical College. The live stream of the dialogue can be found on the Emporia Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and can still be viewed.