Frankfort Lawmakers Optimistic At The Outset Of Special Session On Redistricting

Aug 19, 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. - With federal judges poised to take over state legislative redistricting should the General Assembly fail, Democratic and Republican lawmakers are expressing optimism that a deal will be reached by the end of the special legislative session in Frankfort this week.

"From first blush, it is a significant step in the right direction toward a more fair redistricting plan," says House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover.

"I have not seen more involvement from both sides of the aisle in any redistricting map in my 26-year legislative career," says Democratic House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins.

As it stands, the House plan would pit an equal number of Republicans and Democrats against each other while the Senate proposal pits no incumbents against each other – a dramatic contrast from the controversial lines struck down by the state Supreme Court last year.

The House plan would create potential GOP primary battles in District 9 and 17, and possible Democratic challenges in District 97 and 100.

Kentucky lawmakers received a reminder of what’s at stake in this week’s special legislative session just last Friday when a federal three-judge panel issued an order barring the use of the state’s current unconstitutional maps in any future election. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo filed a motion noting that the order would require the redistricting bill passed this week to include an emergency clause making it effectively immediately in case a special election were called in the next 90 days.

Asked about confusion over the order, Stumbo said he doesn’t expect it to complicate the General Assembly’s work.

"I think what the court means is that you can't conduct another full election with these districts and we don't intend to do it in a full election, so we're asking for some clarification on that. but no, it shouldn't complicate the process at all," Stumbo told reporters Monday.

Stumbo said he believes a bill could pass with the 51 votes it needs in the House to attach an emergency clause if necessary.

If lawmakers do not reach a constitutional compromise by Friday, federal judges will step in to redraw the boundaries.

Redistricting is mandated every 10 years to account for population changes.