Fri August 16, 2013
Kentucky House Leaders Reveal Redistricting Proposal as Special Session Approaches
House Speaker Greg Stumbo revealed on Friday a redistricting map for his chamber that would create four open seats and place four pairs of Democratic and Republican representatives in the same districts.
“I believe that the plan meets the constitutional mandates,” said Stumbo , a Democrat from Prestonsburg. “Gov. Beshear, I don’t want to speak for him, but he indicated as late as this morning to me that once we’ve passed those plans on Friday, that he intends to sign the bill into law as soon as it gets to his desk.”
“So we should have an enacted law, and new districts in the house and senate, come this time hopefully next Friday afternoon,” he told reporters.
At a news conference in Frankfort, Stumbo said he believes the senate redistricting proposal unveiled Thursday by Republican Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, meets the requirements of a legal map.
Stumbo said he and Stivers met with the Beshear this summer to assure the governor that their respective plans would pass legal muster in the General Assembly special session that begins Monday. Legislators have been tasked with reaching a compromise on drawing new state house and senate district boundaries.
If the legislature fails to do so, or fails to adopt legal maps as happened in 2012, a three-judge federal court will step in to draw new maps concurrent with population data culled from the 2010 U.C. Census.
Stumbo’s plan keeps every district within five percentage points larger or smaller of acceptable population change deviation rates, which is one of the primary criteria for new maps to be considered constitutionally sound. It would split a total of 24 counties, and claims to preserve minority voting rights.
The map would also pair four Democrats—House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins and Rep. Kevin Sinnette in the 100th District; Reps. John Will Stacy and Hubie Collins in the 97th—and two Republicans—Reps. Myron Dossett and Ben Waide in the 9th District; Reps. C.B. Embry and Jim DeCesare in the 17th—into four shared districts.
Rep. Adkins told reporters that he spoke with Rep. Sinette, saying that they’re both in the same boat, and are both supporters of the map.
“We both hope to be candidates,” Adkins said. “We’ll work it out in the end.”
New districts created by the new map would include the 36th district in Jefferson County; the 49th district in Bullitt County; the 53rd district in Anderson, Spencer and Bullitt Counties; and the 99th district in Elliott, Rowan and Lewis Counties.
House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-83, said that Stumbo’s plan appears to be a “better approach” than past house Democratic plans.
“I’m pleased that Speaker Stumbo is, at least on its face, moving toward a fairer plan for redistricting,” Hoover said in a press release. “Last week when we revealed our redistricting plan, we made a concerted effort to treat both Republicans and Democrats, and incumbent legislators is a fair and equable [sic] manner.”
Last week, Hoover released a somewhat similar plan to Stumbo’s, which also pit an equal number of four Republicans and four Democrats in shared districts, including Reps. Adkins and Sinnette in the 100th. Stumbo said that Hoover was very positive and upbeat about details of the plan.
“[Hoover] said unless there’s any singers out there that I didn’t tell him about, that it looks like it was something they’d give serious consideration to supporting,” Stumbo said.