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Fri August 23, 2013
New Kentucky District Lines Approved, Focus Shifts To Courts
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky General Assembly has passed new redistricting maps on the final day of its Special Session.
Governor Steve Beshear had called the session specifically to redraw the boundaries. The Senate passed an amended version of the House proposal by a vote of 35 to 2, with the House OKing final passage 79 to 18.
Democratic Senator Kathy Stein, whose district was moved from Lexington to northeastern Kentucky in the 2012 redistricting plan, prompting protests, says the tone of this session was far more bipartisan.
"I think this was very fair and that's why I didn't engage in a whole lot of debate about it. I'm so pleased that it turned out the way it did," Stein told WUKY.
The relatively speedy passage of the new maps was largely thanks to pressure from a federal court to complete the redistricting plan or turn the process over to a three-judge panel. Delays in producing a new map had prompted legal challenges by 12 Northern Kentucky residents, but House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he’s confident the new boundaries will pass constitutional muster.
"Some members were upset because they didn't like the way their district was specifically drawn, but you didn't hear anybody offer any real legal authority that would give rise to the overturning of that map in my opinion. We've done all we can do," Stumbo says.
Despite passage of the new boundaries, it's unclear whether the legal challenge will continue. A September 23rd court date remains in effect.
By limiting the session to its scheduled five days, lawmakers kept the cost to taxpayers close to $300,000 dollars.